The web's most wanted

Friday, 2 August 2002, 10:20 AM EST

The war against hackers is entering a new phase. In the UK and the US, behind the walls of usually bland-looking buildings and shielded from wireless hacking by lead-lined walls, the stuff of Hollywood films is being played out across giant plasma screens.

Programmers, often working on behalf of government agencies, track, monitor and frenziedly alter code in a bid to patch up vulnerable and sometimes besieged networks.

Magic Lantern allows the FBI to record keyboard strokes by secretly planting a software spy in a targeted computer. Rumours have also surfaced about a possible deal with a file-sharing network which would allow files to be viewed by the Feds.

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