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Homeland Security

American Forces Press Service

Officials Warn of Risk of Increased Computer Hacking

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 12, 2003 -- Increased tensions between America and her allies and Iraq could lead to an increase in "global hacking activities," the government body dedicated to protecting the nation's infrastructure warned.

"Recent experience has shown that during a time of increased international tension, illegal cyber activity . often escalates," states a Feb. 11 advisory issued by the National Infrastructure Protection Center. Illegal activities can include spamming, web defacements and denial-of-service attacks.

The advisory warns the hacking activity can come from other countries that are party to the tensions, and can be state- sponsored or -encouraged, or come from individuals or private groups.

Attacks of foreign and domestic origins may arise from political activism by those opposed to war with Iraq. They can also signal criminal activity masquerading as political activism, the advisory warns.

Other hack attacks can come from individuals sympathetic to the U.S. government position on Iraq, "which they view as somehow contributing to the cause," the advisory states.

Infrastructure protection center urges computer and network users to review their defenss against hack attacks and to be increasingly vigilant in monitoring their systems. It also provided a list of "security best practices" for computer users to follow:

  • Increase user awareness.

  • Update anti-virus software.

  • Stop suspicious attachments at the server level.

  • Use filtering software to maximize security.

  • Establish policies and procedures for responding to attacks and recovering data.
For more information, visit the National Infrastructure Protection Center's Web site at www.nipc.gov.


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