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Officials Focus On Private Partnerships To Combat Cyber Threats Officials Focus On Private Partnerships To Combat Cyber Threats

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Congress / TECHNOLOGY

Officials Focus On Private Partnerships To Combat Cyber Threats

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 11:  Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club January 11, 2008 in Washington, DC. Secretary Chertoff spoke about the department's plans to implement the REAL ID Act which sets up national standards for state IDs.  (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michael Chertoff(Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

May 16, 2011

Private/public partnerships are the most effective way to secure most of cyberspace, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told National Journal Monday.

He said there is no question that cyberattacks are taking a toll on the American economy and he said he considers cyberattacks as one of the two greatest threats to the country, along with biological attacks.

"We have huge number of assets connected to the Internet, so we need to take this seriously," Chertoff told National Journal after speaking at a Federal Communications Commission event on small businesses and cybersecurity.

Industry and government officials continue to debate what role the government should play in protecting cyberspace. Chertoff, now a private consultant at his own firm, said while the Defense and Homeland Security Departments defend federal networks, the government "cannot and should not" protect everything else.

But Chertoff said federal agencies should be an important part of regulating and partnering with private industry.

In an interview after the same FCC event, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told National Journal that his agency can play a "unique and important" role in helping businesses protect their networks.

"This is a very confusing area so our vision was to gather the experts and work together to help educate businesses," he said. Genachowski, who has championed the development of high-speed Internet, said that broadband is undoubtedly critical infrastructure that should be protected through partnerships between industry and government.

For more on the FCC's newly released small business cybersecurity tip sheet and Monday's event, visit our new Tech page.

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