Network Guardians Face Thorny Job

Monday, 17 March 2003, 1:54 AM EST

The task of protecting America's communications and information networks isn't getting any easier.

And federal agencies and private companies face a steeper and steeper battle, according to data presented Friday at the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council meeting at the Federal Communications Commission.

Indeed, while computer viruses used to take days to spread across the Internet, the Code Red virus propagated in 37 minutes in 2001, and the more recent Slammer worm spread in about eight minutes.

"The propagation time for evil to hit everybody has gone from days to minutes," said Bill Hancock, chairman of the Network Reliability and Interoperability Council's cybersecurity focus group and vice president of security at Cable & Wireless. (The NRIC is made up of representatives from the telecommunications, cable, wireless, satellite and ISP industries.)

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