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National cybersecurity test set for fall

Cyber Storm exercise is designed to help develop national system for detecting, preventing and responding to digital attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to launch a national exercise in November that will test the government's readiness to handle cyber emergencies.

Andy Purdy, acting director of the DHS's National Cyber Security division, announced the exercise, called Cyber Storm, earlier this week in a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing. The division's top priority is establishing a "National Cyberspace Response System to prevent, detect, respond to, and reconstitute rapidly after cyber incidents," Purdy said in written testimony. Cyber Storm will test that "concept of operations for national incident response," which was devised by a consort of federal agencies, including the Defense and Justice departments.

Purdy's comments came as part of broader testimony about the goals and priorities of the division, which President Bush created in June 2003. DHS in May received a failing grade in the realm of cybersecurity. DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff last week proposed creating a new, higher-level secretary to oversee cybersecurity, and President Bush named technology lawyer Stewart Baker as his pick.