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WASHINGTON _ Federal civil defense planners have used the massive effort to prepare for the year 2000 computer problem as a template to ready the nation for information warfare.
Contingency plans are now in place throughout the country, from the Pentagon to Seattle, aimed at responding to technology failures caused by Y2K.
Those same plans are central to the federal effort to defend against crippling cyber attacks by terrorists or hostile nations, such as the injection of computer viruses that can destroy anything from business records to defense systems.
``Y2K is really a computer security issue,'' said Jack Brock, director of information issues for the General Accounting Office. ``We should take advantage of this to use this as a springboard for preparing for cyber terrorism and cyber attacks.''
Since the beginning of the year, National Security Council staff members who are focused on overcoming the nation's vulnerability to cyber attacks have looked to the Y2K effort to ``jump start'' their plans.
A national cyber defense system is supposed to start operating by Dec. 31, 2000, but publication of the plan has been delayed for nearly a year, in part because of …