BERKELEY, Calif. – The tech industry should work harder to stop cyberterrorists and the nation should continue to take its enemies seriously, the Bush administration's top high-tech security adviser said Monday.
"Our enemies will be smart and we can never underestimate them," Richard Clarke told a group of computer science faculty and students at the University of California, Berkeley. "They will have access to the same knowledge base we have through the Internet. Our enemies will take our technology and turn it against us."
Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups communicate electronically and use the Internet to plan attacks like the ones in New York and Washington on Sept. 11. And Clarke predicted more cyber-terrorism is on the horizon.
In October, Bush appointed Clarke as an adviser to help government and businesses spot weaknesses in their systems and shore up cybersecurity. He has served as a security specialist for several presidents beginning with former President Reagan in the 1980s.
He said young American hackers have exposed major security weaknesses. One hacker showed he could break into a Massachusetts airport through the Web and could have shut off runway lights.
"When I look at the vulnerability of the Internet, I lose sleep," Clarke said.
One problem, Clarke said, is government agencies putting too much information on their Web sites. Air traffic controllers, government payroll departments and some power companies have used Web-based systems to manage sensitive data.
"Why is any of that connected to the Internet in the first place," Clarke said.
He's using industry leaders like Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Cisco's John Chambers to further development of security technology.
Clarke has proposed a separate, secure Internet for government agencies.
He said $30,000 scholarships will be offered at 16 universities for computer science majors who specialize in information security and devote a year of service to the government.
President Bush is proposing a 64 percent increase for information technology security funding, going from $2.7 billion in fiscal year 2002 to $4.2 billion the following year. Some of that money, Clarke said, will go to new research and development.