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FBI WARNS OF POSSIBLE NEW CYBER ATTACKS

Source: Times of India

Posted on December 3, 2000

      Companies doing business on the Internet should tighten their defences against a possible new wave of cyber attacks, an FBI-led group aimed at protecting vital systems said on Friday.

      The multi-agency National Infrastructure Protection Centre said it had detected an increase in ``hacker'' activity designed to steal proprietary information from US electronic commerce sites.

      The perpetrators were exploiting known vulnerabilities in Windows NT and, to a lesser extent, Unix, operating systems, to break in, an advisory note said.

      ``In most cases the hacker activity had been ongoing for several months before the victim became aware of the intrusion,'' the centre said on its Web site, www.nipc.gov.

      Citing FBI investigations and unspecified other information, the centre ``strongly recommends that all computer network systems administrators check relevant systems and apply updated patches as necessary,'' the advisory said.

      Special attention should be paid to systems ``related to e-commerce or e-banking/financial business,'' it added.

DENIAL OF SERVICE ATTACKS

In February, a series of so-called denial of service attacks knocked out for hours Web sites run by Yahoo!, Amazon.com, eBay, Datek Online, ZDNet, Buy.com and others.

      In such an attack, one or more hacker finds a number of unprotected computers. Those computers are then instructed to send a huge amount of data to a target Web site, swamping it and rendering it inoperable.

      The infrastructure protection centre, based at the headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said it was analyzing the latest hacker activity and would provide more details later.

      It urged Internet users to report illegal or malicious activities to the authorities.

      The FBI officer who serves as the centre's top cyber cop, Michael Vatis, said in a conference keynote speech on Thursday that the cyber threat to e-commerce was ``real and growing.''

      Among the dangers, he cited hackers, organized crime and countries developing ``information warfare.'' To demonstrate this point, Vatis used a slide showing quotes from two Chinese strategists, one modern and one ancient.

      ``There is a need for a greater alliance between public and private sectors'' to deal with cyber threats, Vatis told an e-security conference in Arlington, Virginia, outside Washington.




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