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Clinton commits $1.46B to fight cyberterrorism


January 26, 1999
Web posted at: 10:41 a.m. EST (1541 GMT)

by Matt Hamblen

(IDG) -- President Bill Clinton Friday announced a $1.46 billion initiative to improve government computer security that aims to protect against terrorist attacks that might target the nation's infrastructure, such as power plants, telecommunications, banking, transportation and emergency services.

The plan would require congressional approval and establish a network of intrusion detection monitors for certain federal agencies. It also would encourage the private sector to do the same.

The president also called for a Cyber Corps to allow federal agencies to train personnel to handle and prevent computer crises.

He described the $1.46 billion as an increase of 40% over fiscal 1998 spending to improve government computer security.

The plan was outlined in a speech before the National Academy of Sciences last week. It details 10 points that aim to thwart threats from cyberterrorists as well as biological and chemical weapons. The total program would cost $10 billion.

One previous online attack occurred in February 1988, when a group of Israeli and U.S. teens broke into Pentagon computers. While officials quickly detected the break-in, it took several days to determine that it was an act of vandalism rather than foreign aggression. Last year, national security experts hacked unclassified Pentagon computers during an online war game that would have allowed them to disrupt troop movements, the Pentagon reported at the time.

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