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NEW ALLIANCE AIMS TO EDUCATE AGAINST CYBER ATTACKS

Source: Security Wire Digest

Posted on February 18, 2002

      A new alliance of private companies and federal agencies earlier this month launched a public awareness blitz designed to encourage home and small business computer users to take steps to protect themselves from cyberattacks.

      Companies and agencies--including Internet Security Systems, Cisco Systems, Microsoft, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Critical Infrastructure Assurance Office--are backing the new National Cyber Security Alliance. The Alliance's "Stay Safe Online" campaign, launched February 7, plans to use two national awareness days, technical discussions among industry experts, public service announcements and a new Web site (www.StaySafeOnline.info) to deliver its message.

      "Citizens don't realize how much damage can be done by people using your computers remotely without your knowing it," said Richard Clarke, the White House special advisor for cyberspace security, in a statement. The alliance cited the LoveLetter virus as evidence of the disruption that can be caused by "the vulnerabilities of our nation's computer security."

      The alliance wants consumers and small businesses to make time for twice-yearly assessments of their security, and has selected April 7 and October 27 (the days most Americans will change their clocks this year) as national awareness days.

      According to Frank Prince, an information technology and security analyst, the new effort could be good for information security companies. That's provided they succeed in raising the level of awareness about possible risk--and don't lie about the scope of the risk or the abilities of their products and services in the process. Otherwise, Prince says, the effort "is like the milk producers getting together and producing a study that milk is good for you."




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