Ten Years and Going Strong
FBI's top cyber executive James Finch addresses the InfraGard conference in Washington, D.C.
The president of Shell Oil was there.
So were high-ranking execs from across government—the
Secretary of Agriculture, a top Department
of Homeland Security official, and the FBI’s
cyber chief, to name a few.
Not to mention hundreds of public and private
sector professionals—business leaders,
entrepreneurs, military and government officials,
computer security experts, academics, and
state and local law enforcement.
And TV cameras were rolling, capturing
key segments for national cable broadcast.
Not bad for the annual gathering
of an alliance that began 10 years ago
as a small startup in our Cleveland field
the program itself, the InfraGard conference— held
in the nation’s capitol in late August—facilitated
the free flow of ideas and information. All
with the aim of preventing and responding
to potentially disabling attacks on the nation’s
physical and electronic infrastructure (think
banks, water and food supplies, transportation
and telecommunications networks, energy systems,
emergency services, etc.)—by terrorists,
spies, hackers, or whoever.
“We live in a highly interconnected
world where, say, an attack on a power grid—whether
trigged by a bomb or a bot—can impact
millions of people,’’ says Don
Good, head of the national InfraGard program
for the FBI. “No one owns all of America’s
infrastructure, so we have to keep the lines
of communication wide open so attacks either
never get off the ground or get addressed
as quickly as possible.”
The conference was a perfect venue. Private
sector attendees shared their expertise,
strategies, and information on how to better
protect U.S. critical infrastructures from
computer intrusions, terrorist threats, physical
security breaches, and other attacks. And
government and law enforcement officials
spread the word about intelligence sharing
initiatives involving current critical infrastructure
threats and vulnerabilities.
the issues on the table: rail
and transit security, first response plans,
cyber threats, gang violence, pandemic flu,
financial crime trends, water and
border security, food and agriculture safety,
health care fraud, computer forensics, and
post-disaster business continuity.
“We talked through just about every
scenario and major threat you can think of,” explains
Good. “We all learned a great deal
from each other.”
Bottom line, InfraGard works. In
fiscal year 2005, InfraGard members initiated
approximately 95 investigations and helped
support a similar number of cases. A clientless
virtual private network has also enabled
InfraGard members to read more than 200 restricted
intelligence products, helping to educate
members and provide a continuing dialogue
with the FBI.
“With more than 16,000 members, 84
chapters nationwide, and an almost daily
flow of vital information, we think InfraGard
is one of the most quietly successful public/private
partnerships around,” says Good.
to join? Go
to the InfraGard
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