Security breaches may be the next tobacco-experts

Thursday, 13 June 2002, 10:51 PM EST

No longer just a nuisance, hackers and viruses are threatening to mire companies with inadequate security in a legal nightmare that could rival the dramatic tobacco and asbestos lawsuits of recent years.

In the near future, experts warn, the same businesses could face a much bigger bill from lawyers and insurers as they seek to stave off liability lawsuits over computer security.

"It's going to be a race to the courthouse steps, like ambulance chasing," warned Ed McPherson, director of PricewaterhouseCoopers' technology security practice in Atlanta. "It'll be like dominoes; when the first one hits and there is case law there will be a ripple effect through the country."

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