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CNN Today

Internet Companies Run to Security Experts to Protect Their Businesses

Aired February 10, 2000 - 2:21 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

DONNA KELLEY, CNN ANCHOR: The Justice Department is still not sure of the motive for this week's computer attacks on popular Web sites, but they do believe that the effort was launched inside the United States.

As CNN's Marsha Walton reports, the attacks have led some Web sites to take a closer look at their security efforts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MARSHA WALTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Many businesses that rely on the Internet are right now seeking quick help from computer security firms to come up with an emergency response plan just in case their site is the next one taken down. The Justice Department says getting to the bottom of a rash of electronic assaults is a lot like the Internet itself: far too large and unwieldy for any one agency to handle.

ERIC HOLDER, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: We must be vigilant in responding to the growing threat of cyber-crime, which requires a heightened response from law enforcement or effective public-private partnerships and broader efforts to educate the Internet community.

WALTON: The deputy attorney general says attacks this week on huge commercial sites like Yahoo!, Amazon, Buy.com, E-Trade, ZDNet and our own CNN.com could cause a collective loss into the tens of millions of dollars, and computer security experts say standby for more.

PATRICK TAYLOR, INTERNET SECURITY SYSTEMS: There's a good chance we'll see more, and we will continue to see sites brought down. Everyone's emergency response capabilities are likely to be tested.

WALTON: The type of attack that crippled these Web sites is not new and not particularly sophisticated. The sites were overwhelmed with bogus traffic, keeping legitimate users from gaining access. One computer veteran says the enormous growth of the Internet and e- commerce sometimes meant protecting all those sites was an afterthought at best.

"SPACE ROGUE," EDITOR, HACKERNEWS.COM: Security really wasn't put in place in the very early stages, and we're sort of paying the price for that now. WALTON: Commerce Secretary William Daley now says extra measures are being taken to secure sensitive government computers, and the lookout is on for copy-cat crimes. But while the victims so far have been big names, any business that relies on the Internet should take heed.

TAYLOR: When they built my house, the builder probably installed locks on the doors, and he probably locked them. I still go check them every night before I go to sleep. You need to apply that same discipline to your computers.

WALTON: The Justice Department is asking for an additional $37 million to establish regional labs to try and keep up with computer crimes.

Marsha Walton, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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