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U.S. Department of Homeland Security  

Press Releases

Secretary Ridge Announces the Creation of New Computer Emergency Response Center for Cyber Security

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 15, 2003

The Department of Homeland Security Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection Directorate, in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University, is pleased to announce the creation of the U.S. Computer Emergency Response Team (US-CERT). The US-CERT will begin as a partnership between the National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) within DHS and Carnegie Mellon's CERT®/Coordination Center (CERT/CC). The CERT/CC is part of the Software Engineering Institute, a U.S. Department of Defense-sponsored federally funded research and development center, and affiliated with Carnegie Mellon's new Cyber Security Laboratory.

The US-CERT will grow to include other partnerships with private sector security vendors and other domestic and international CERT organizations. These groups will work together to coordinate national and international efforts to prevent, protect and respond to the effects of cyber attacks across the Internet. This announcement is the first in a series of upcoming announcements on new partnerships and initiatives within the National Cyber Security Division.

"This new center for cyber security is a key element to our national strategy to combat terrorism and protect our critical infrastructure. The recent cyber attacks such as the Blaster worm and the SoBig virus highlight the urgent need for an enhanced computer emergency response program that coordinates national efforts to cyber incidents and attacks," said Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge.

"Carnegie Mellon is proud and pleased to have this opportunity to work with the Department of Homeland Security. We are committed to maintaining our longstanding leadership in cyber security and to building additional strength in this critical area," said Jared L. Cohon, president of Carnegie Mellon University.

The US-CERT, in collaboration with the private sector and leading response organizations, will improve warning and response time to security incidents by fostering the development of detection tools and utilizing common commercial incident and vulnerability reporting protocols. This will increase the flow of critical security information throughout the Internet community. The US-CERT will provide a coordination center that, for the first time, links public and private response capabilities to facilitate communication across all infrastructure sectors.

In addition, the center will collaborate with the private sector to develop and implement new tools and methods for detecting and responding to vulnerabilities.  The center will reduce the response time to a security event to an average of 30 minutes by the end of 2004. The US-CERT will work with infrastructure owners and operators and technology experts to foster the development of improved security technologies and methods to drive increased cyber security at all levels across the nation - from citizens in their homes and at work, to large private sector companies, to large government agencies and organizations.