|myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Free E-mail | Feedback||
Clinton administration develops Internet security proposals as investigators pursue hackers
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh are scheduled to appear on Wednesday before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee probing last week's attacks on Web sites including Yahoo!, Amazon.com and CNN.com.
Reno and Freeh are expected to urge Congress to pass a new Justice Department budget proposal which calls for a $37 million increase on top of the estimated $100 million now being spent to combat all types of computer crimes. The proposal calls for funding "response teams" to swing into action as soon as cyber crimes are detected.
The planned spending increase is part of the Clinton Administration's strategy for dealing with the growing threat of cyber crimes, as investigators pursue possible suspects in a series of high-profile Internet attacks.
Reno is also expected to call for the development of a five-year plan to prevent Internet attacks, and when they do occur, to have the capacity to find and arrest those responsible, sources tell CNN.
The Senate is in recess this week, but panel chairman Sen. Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire), called the hearing because of wide concern that the government is not prepared to adequately respond to cyber criminals.
"We want to know if we have the manpower and the technology to fight this kind of thing," an aide to Gregg said. "And we need to know if they need resources or statutory authority, and if our government Web sites are protected."
'No Pearl Harbor' Clinton says
President Clinton met Tuesday with more than a dozen computer executives and other experts to discuss strategies for preventing Web site hacking. He said last week's denial of service attacks were a source of concern, but not cause for panic.
"I think it was an alarm, I don't think it was Pearl Harbor," Clinton said in response to a question that referred to Japan's December 7, 1941 attack on the U.S. Navy in Hawaii that killed almost 2,300 Americans. "We lost our Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor, I don't think the analogous loss was that great."
The president endorsed the creation of a national security center where Internet and e-commerce companies can work together to cope with hacker attacks. He said he has asked Congress for $9 million to create the center.
He agreed with executives who say the government should not have too much control over the Internet.
"We have to keep cyberspace open and free," Clinton said. "We have to make at the same time, computer networks more secure and resilient and we have to do more to protect privacy and civil liberties."
Possible suspects identified
Meanwhile, independent investigators have linked a man living in the Midwest to at least three of last week's denial of service attacks.
On Internet Relay Chat, a real-time network of chat servers separate from the World Wide Web, the man who goes by the name "Coolio" claimed responsibility for an attack on a server in Russia and the defacement of one page of the RSA Security Web site. RSA Security is a leading Internet encryption firm.
It is unclear if Coolio will emerge as a suspect or a witness, but the FBI is planning to investigate the reference to him and may attempt to look at his computer, sources said.
Joel de la Garza, a security consultant who works for both RSA Security and Kroll-O'Gara, another security firm, said he's "85 percent" sure Coolio is responsible for many of the attacks.
De la Garza says he found information that identifies the method Coolio used to break into the Russian computer.
The method, known as a network protocol exploit, was also used to infiltrate computers at Stanford University and the University of California at Santa Barbara. Those computers were used in the attacks on eBay and CNN.com.
Officials at UCLA said Tuesday its campus computers were used in the attack on Amazon.com.
Investigators used publicly available Interent account registrations to track the Russian computer attack to a dial- up Internet account at a Midwestern location very close to where Coolio is believed to live.
But David Brumley, a network security administrator at Stanford says he and de la Garza do not believe Coolio acted alone.
"We believe that there are two parties. Some were done by one, some by another," Brumley said.
The FBI is also believed to be investigating a Canadian man who goes by the name "mafiaboy." According to Recourse Technologies, a security firm that tracks down hackers, mafiaboy is a 15-year-old copycat attacker.
FBI officials said they were making progress, but would not comment on any leads agents may be following. Sources tell CNN that agents in every one of the Bureau's 56 field offices have been used in the probe.
Reuters contributed to this report.
FBI follows Internet chat room leads in hacker probe
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.