The View From Symantec's Security Central

Friday, 10 January 2003, 12:47 PM EST

An ordinary office building on Route 1 in Alexandria offers a rare window into the Internet hacker wars and a few clues to why Uncle Sam wants more monitoring capabilities in cyberspace.

Inside a cavernous room on the first floor there, security analysts for Symantec sit in long, curved rows 24 hours a day, working on computers and facing a wall of theater-size screens. Information displayed on the screens helps them keep tabs on whether any attacks are underway at any of the company's more than 600 corporate clients.

Every five minutes or so, a giant, illuminated globe appears on the central screen and starts to rotate, displaying the locations worldwide where hackers are launching the most attacks. Symantec uses special technology to monitor a huge chunk of the public Internet along with the internal nooks and crannies of its clients' private networks, looking for telltale signs of computer break-ins.

Its software constantly compares current hacker activity with a database of prior attacks, then displays in red the names of countries where an unusual amount of malicious Internet activity is originating that day. The rotating globe also displays the number of attempted break-ins against Symantec clients over the past 24 hours in the 10 most active countries.

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