In worm war, feds fight the clock

Monday, 22 September 2003, 4:51 PM EST

Worms are appearing more frequently than ever, but patches are not keeping pace, federal officials warned.

Agencies are using many solutions to patch their systems and networks against security vulnerabilities, they said, but it's tough to keep up because the time between vulnerability discovery and exploitation keeps getting shorter.

In the past two years, the cycle has shrunk from months to weeks, said Robert Dacey, director of information security at the General Accounting Office. Worse yet, the number of security vulnerabilities discovered in software is increasing every month, he said, testifying Sept. 10 before the House Government Reform Committee's Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census Subcommittee.

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