Cybersecurity task force to release SoHo security guidelines

This week, a cybersecurity task force is expected to release guidelines for improving cybersecurity for small businesses and home computer users—groups normally not focused on security.

This week, the Awareness and Outreach Task Force is expected to release guidelines for improving cybersecurity for small businesses and home computer users—groups normally not focused on security.

The new guidelines are seen as a follow-up to last year's National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. That document was widely panned for lacking regulatory teeth since it recommends and encourages rather than enforces. The Strategy cited market forces as the major driver for improving security rather than regulations. Some accused the government of buckling to pressure from industry in taking a more laissez-faire approach.

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The new guidelines will likely focus on user awareness by communicating the seriousness of security issues, an important but difficult piece of the cybersecurity puzzle.

In a prepared statement released yesterday, Zone Labs' president and COO applauded the "practical recommendations" though they have yet to be publicly released. "Unfortunately, there is no 'silver bullet' which will automatically eliminate the ever-evolving threats of hackers, malicious code and Internet fraudsters. But a partnership between the private sector, technologists, government, academia and educated consumers can play an important role in reducing these risks," said the firewall maker's Irfan Salim.

Naysayers may say the focus on user awareness rather than technology is not surprising, given much of the task force charged with creating the guidelines come from software vendors such as Internet Security Systems Inc., Oracle Corp., Microsoft Corp. and RSA Security Inc. The Awareness for Home Users and Small Businesses task force, was created last year by the Department of Homeland Security and the private sector as a public-private partnership aimed at improving cybersecurity.

The guidelines are slated to be released on Thursday.

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