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Ridge Issues Security Challenge

Tom Ridge, the former secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), called on the storage industry today to help the government win its war on terror.

Ridge, keynoting at the Infosecurity show in New York, underlined the importance of corporate America as the government wrestles with new technologies. "You can't secure the country from inside the Beltway," he said. "The intellectual critical mass for cyber-security rests in the private sector."

Storage, in particular, is an area where the government is facing new challenges, he told Byte and Switch. "There will be more and more data collected," he said, adding that there are still issues to be resolved around the collection, storage, and security of personal data.

During his keynote, Ridge explained that officials are constantly looking at new technologies to secure America's borders and avoid a repeat of 9/11. These range from unmanned aerial vehicles on the border with Mexico to new x-ray systems for checking the contents of shipping containers.

Although Congress has pumped money into homeland security since 9/11, Ridge's comments suggest that storage still needs to be locked down. Earlier this year, analyst firm Input Inc. warned that weaknesses in VPN connections, faulty firewalls, and a lack of customized security products are opening up the government's back-end systems to potential fraud, sabotage, and even destruction. (See Report: Feds Need Security.)

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