Plans Being Made to Protect U.S. Information Infrastructure
(Communications industry preparing list of recommendations) (1140)

Representatives from the U.S. communications industry are pushing a
deadline to develop a list of recommendations to ensure the safety of
the nation's information and communications infrastructure in the
event of terrorist attacks or disasters.

The Network Reliability and Interoperability Council (NRIC), chartered
by the Federal Communications Commission is set to develop a list of
"best practices" to put forth to the U.S. communications industry by
December 20.

Speaking at an NRIC session December 6, Richard C. Notebaert, council
chairman and chairman and CEO of Qwest Communications International,
said, "Today's meeting illustrates the industry commitment to work
together and share best practices in an effort to improve network
reliability and strengthen the nation's communications network against
terrorist attacks and natural disasters."

The panel is considering best practices to protect and secure both the
physical and cyber networks. FCC Chairman Michael Powell is urging
companies throughout the country to adopt the best practices

Following is the text of the FCC press release.

(begin text)


Federal Communications Commission 
December 6, 2002


Washington, D.C. - Representatives from across the communications
industry came together today to consider recommendations to protect
and strengthen the nation's communications infrastructure against
terrorist attacks or national disasters.

The measures were considered by the Network Reliability and
Interoperability Council (NRIC) VI which held its quarterly meeting
today at the FCC. NRIC is composed of representatives from the
telecommunications, cable, wireless, satellite and ISP industries.

The 56-member Council will review some 300 best practices - many of
which are currently being practiced by industry members - for
widespread adoption and implementation across the industry. Best
practices range from increasing physical security at communications
facilities to process changes and training to increased protection of
proprietary information. NRIC members have until December 20, 2002 to
vote on recommendations to the industry that these best practices
voluntarily be implemented.

FCC Chairman Michael Powell said, "Homeland Security is a critical
issue that touches every consumer in America. People want to know that
in an emergency their calls will go through and they can reach loved
ones. Every bit as important, our nation's communications network must
be secure and protected to ensure that public safety, health, and law
enforcement officials are able to respond and ensure the flow of

Richard C. Notebaert, NRIC chairman and chairman and CEO of Qwest
Communications International, said, "Today's meeting illustrates the
industry commitment to work together and share best practices in an
effort to improve network reliability and strengthen the nation's
communications network against terrorist attacks and natural

"The telecommunications industry has taken a leadership role in
proactively identifying and protecting our nation's communications
infrastructure. Many of the best practices we have heard today are
actively being implemented by many companies. I strongly urge the
industry to adopt as many of these Best Practices as appropriate to
ensure the protection and reliability of our nation's communications
system," Powell continued.

In developing its best practices, NRIC's Physical Security Focus
Group, led by Karl Rauscher, director, network reliability office,
Lucent Technologies Bell Labs, and NRIC's Cyber Security Focus Group,
led by Dr. Bill Hancock, vice president, Cable & Wireless, underwent a
rigorous process that included a detailed vulnerability and threat
assessment and identified the best practices currently in use by the
industry to take necessary steps to improve security and mitigate
associated risks.

The items considered today include:

Best Practices for Securing the Physical Network: 

--Technology. Best practices for the application of new technologies
to better mitigate the effects of an attack.

--Access Controls. Best practices for access control methods and
procedures to help ensure that unauthorized personnel do not have
access to critical network infrastructures. Best practices include the
development of formal procedures for assigning facility access and
constructing physical barriers to prevent vehicular and pedestrian
"tailgating," electronic surveillance at critical access points and
changes to landscaping and outdoor lighting.

--Personnel. Best practices for security procedures and associated
training including recognizing and reporting suspicious items and
handling of proprietary information.

--Design and Construction. Best practices for new network and facility
design and construction methods to help secure critical

--Inventory Management. Best practices and procedures for managing
critical inventory to hasten restoration of service in the event of an
attack. This includes best practices to establish procedures,
including storage, handling, transfer and transmission.

--Auditing and Surveillance. Best practices for measuring and
assessing security readiness in a communications firm, including
physical inspection of equipment, network and software and plant

--Elevate Internal Role of Security. Best practices to elevate
security as an integral part of strategic business planning.

Best Practices for Securing the Cyber Network:

--Technology. Best practices for secure cyber technologies and

--Operations and Administrative. Best practices to help secure network
information and operations support systems. The Focus Group's
recommendations covered areas such as authentication and logging of
network management actions, special access controls for network
operations systems, and secure, swift distribution of operations
system patches.

--Authentication and Access Control. Best practices for access control
methods, policies and procedures to help ensure that only authorized
personnel have access to critical network elements and information

--Incident Management. Best practices for identifying, reporting,
surviving and responding to cyber attacks.

--Users. Best practices for protecting public communications networks
against attacks from end-user networks.

NRIC VI will recommend adopting voluntary outage reporting for cable,
wireless, data and ISP service providers. The trial will commence on
January 1, 2003 and conclude on December 31, 2003 and provide valuable
information to improve the reliability of these networks.

NRIC, which has been in place since 1992, has a long history of
providing the industry with a collaborative forum for developing and
voluntarily implementing best practices.

Earlier this year, NRIC VI adopted an Emergency Assistant Agreement
which provides the means by which industry carriers and service
providers can elect to enter agreements to collaborate to restore
service in the wake of an emergency. It also adopted industry
emergency contact procedures and protocol to provide detailed contact
information, procedures and protocol to members in times of emergency
and to identify communications industry representatives who are
essential to effective communications and Internet service restoration

Chairman Powell chartered NRIC VI January 7, 2002 to focus on homeland
security by ensuring the security and sustainability of public
telecommunications networks in the event of a terrorist attack or
national disaster. Membership in NRIC was significantly expanded
through NRIC VI to include corporate representatives from the cable,
wireless, satellite and ISP industries. It also established four new
working groups to address homeland security: Physical Security, Cyber
Security, Disaster Recovery and Public Safety.

Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C.  20554

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of
the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action.
See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

(end text)

(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

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