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Tech pros worry about US cyber-attacks
Friday, June 28 2002
by Ciaran Buckley

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IT professionals believe the United States will be subjected to a major cyber-attack within the next 12 months, according to a new survey by the BSA.

Seventy-four percent of IT professionals believe that an attack is nearly certain against the stock exchanges or large banks. Sixty-seven percent say it is very likely that US communications systems and transportation infrastructure will be hit, while 64 percent believe that utilities such as water stations, dams or power plants will be attacked.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of the Business Software Alliance, was part of a broader survey on the security of government information systems and was released earlier this week.

"News reports that Al-Qaeda may be planning attacks against major parts of our country's information infrastructure is sobering, but not surprising," said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of the Business Software Alliance. "Our survey and these news reports support what we have been saying for months: there is an urgent need to accelerate efforts to ensure that sound cyber-security technologies are a major part of the homeland security focus."

Holleyman said that the Business Software Alliance has been pushing its cyber-security agenda with senior White House officials and Congress and that it is ready to help develop policies that will promote cyber-security.

The Business Software Alliance is an international organisation representing the interests of the hardware, software and Internet sectors in the areas of public policy, copyright protection and international trade. The group's members include most of the major IT companies.

This renewed focus on cybercrime comes just weeks after the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US announced a major new reorganisation, which will see it increase its use of technology and step up efforts against cyber-crime. The reorganisation was made in the wake of reports that the FBI had evidence and clues in its possession that could have been used to uncover the 11 September plot. The FBI will now be giving a higher priority to cyber-crime, which now becomes the organisation's number three priority behind protecting the United States from terrorist attack and guarding against foreign intelligence operations and espionage.

Earlier in the year the FBI established a Cyber-crime Division to co-ordinate the agency's technology-related efforts. The division includes the bureau's National Infrastructure Protection Center, which tries to protect the most important computer networks in the United States from attack.

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