Holder: More Vigilance, Public and Private Partnerships, Ethics Education Necessary to Combat Internet AttacksAired February 10, 2000 - 9:30 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We are waiting for the Justice Department. Eric Holder, right-hand person, basically, of Janet Reno about to come out and talk about the latest with the Internet security issues we've had for the past -- the past three days, and when Mr. Holder comes into the room -- we're watching it right now -- in fact, I see him coming in. Let's go there right now...
DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Listen in.
HEMMER: ... and we'll get the very latest and see what the concerns are from the federal government on this issue.
Do we have it?
KAGAN: I think we have it. There he is.
HEMMER: There we go. Eric Holder now sitting in his chair.
ERIC HOLDER, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: I'd just like to start by making a statement about the computer Internet problems we've been having over the last few days.
As you know, the department has launched a nationwide investigation into recent attacks on some of the most popular sites on the Internet. The investigation is being coordinated by the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center with investigative and other support from numerous FBI field offices around the country.
The FBI is also working closely with the department's computer crime section and specially trained prosecutors around the country who have authority and also who have expertise in obtaining court orders for electronic and other forms of evidence.
Now the recent attacks are serious for a number of reasons. In addition to the malicious disruption of legitimate commerce, so-called denial of service attacks involve the unlawful intrusion into dozens or even hundreds of computers, which are used to launch attacks on the eventual target computer -- in this case the computers of Yahoo, eBay, Buy.com and others.
Thus, the number of victims in these types of cases can be substantial, and the collective loss and cost to respond to these kinds of attacks can run into the tens of millions of dollars or more. While we are still investigating the scope and the severity of these recent attacks, it's clear that these kinds of attacks are quite serious.
We have substantially bolstered our cyber-crime efforts in recent years. In addition to the establishment of the National Infrastructure Protection Center at the FBI, and the establishment of computer crime squads in FBI offices around the country, we established a network of specially trained federal prosecutors in each U.S. Attorney's office who have the authority and the expertise to provide round-the-clock assistance, including search warrants, subpoenas and other types of orders.
These efforts, of course, are part of the administration's larger cyber-crime and infrastructure protection effort. The president is seeking $2 billion this year to bolster our government-wide efforts, including efforts to boost the security of the government's information infrastructure.
At the same time, responding to the growing threat of cyber-crime requires constant vigilance and additional resources. The president has asked Congress to provide an additional $37 million next year to expand the Justice Department's cyber-crime fighting efforts. This request includes new funds for computer-crime prosecutors, additional investigative capabilities for the FBI, and to support state and local law enforcement agencies.
Finally, Internet security must be a community-wide effort. The private sector needs to take additional steps to safeguard their computer systems. This is one area where public-private partnerships can be truly effective. We also need to begin teaching our young people about Internet ethics. Many young people don't know that it's wrong to break into -- or do know that it's wrong to break into a person's house, yet they don't feel the same moral apprehension before breaking into another person's computer.
There is no doubt that the Internet is providing countless benefits to our society, but we must be vigilant in responding to the growing threat of cyber-crime, which requires a heightened response from law enforcement, more effective public-private partnerships and broader efforts to educate the Internet community about the appropriate and responsible use of this wonderful new technology.
QUESTION: Mr. Holder, has there been any progress in the cyber- attack investigation? And if there has, can you tell us about it in terms of, does it compromise the investigation?
HOLDER: Well, I'm not sure I'd want to comment on the progress that we've made, other than to say that the effort that we are making is a substantial one involving U.S. Attorney's offices around the country, specially trained prosecutors, countless numbers of FBI agents in addition to the NIPC here in Washington, and also outreach efforts that we have made to industry.
QUESTION: Can you tell us whether -- at least looking at one source? Or are we looking at a number of sources? KAGAN: We've been listening to the weekly media briefing usually done by Attorney General Janet Reno. That's Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder filling in today.
Right off the top he was talking about this week's developments with the recent attacks in cyberspace. He's calling it an unlawful intrusion onto sites like Yahoo! and eBay and even our own CNN.com, calling it the scope and severity quite severe and serious. Mr. Holder says that President Clinton is asking for $37 million in additional funds to fight crimes like this but saying that the federal government cannot do it alone, this is a place where private and public efforts must come together. And also, he stressed that it's time to start teaching our young people about the ethics of the Internet. You wouldn't break into somebody's house, kids need to learn you also don't break into somebody else's computer.
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