Exploiting holes in the Net

Thursday, 28 August 2003, 12:39 PM EST

Blaster. Sobig. Nachi. They could be characters from a video game or a bad science fiction movie. But attacks by Internet viruses and worms have become anything but fun and games.

In about a week, the anonymous hacker attacks shut down rail lines, disrupted an airline and caused headaches for most Web users.

They also proved something else: The current approach to computer security simply doesn't work.

Officials from Microsoft Corp. to the Department of Homeland Security warned for weeks that consumers should download a free software patch to protect against Blaster. Yet hundreds of thousands of computers were infected by the worm.

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