Tech Companies Team Up To Fight Cyberattacks

January 19, 2001

NEWS BRIEFS

Melanie Austria Farmer reported for cnet news.com: A group of technology heavyweights including Microsoft and Intel plan to unveil Tuesday a new resource in their efforts to strengthen cybersecurity.

The group is establishing a new initiative through which high-tech companies can share information about the vulnerabilities in their software and hardware products. Participants in the undertaking, dubbed IT-ISAC (Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center), also plan to exchange information about their security practices.

In a conference call slated for Tuesday morning, board members of IT-ISAC intend to outline goals, mission and operations of the new center. Expected to be present during the call are representatives from Microsoft, AT&T, Oracle, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Computer Associates, EDS, Entrust Technologies, KPMG Consulting, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks and other companies.

Members have created the center in hopes of improving responses to cyberattacks and hacking against corporate computer networks.

A number of giant companies, including Microsoft, have recently seen their corporate networks hacked. In such attacks, aimed at organizations large and small, some hackers may deface a Web site with graffiti or more pointed messages. Others toy with private information such as customer data and personal profiles.

Many companies have increased security measures to safeguard valuable intellectual property, but a number of reports indicate that most continue to be vulnerable to such incidents.

According to a study by the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) and consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, Fortune 1000 companies sustained losses of more than $45 billion in 1999 from the theft of proprietary information–up from mid-1990s’ estimates by the FBI that pegged the cost at roughly $24 billion a year. Tech companies reported the majority of those hacking incidents. The average tech company reported nearly 67 individual attacks, with the average theft resulting in about $15 million in lost business.

Following a string of attacks on federal systems, President Clinton last year launched a $2 billion plan for combating cyberterrorism that included an educational initiative to recruit and train IT workers. The plan also included conducting federal agency vulnerability analyses and developing agency-critical infrastructure protection plans.

A conference call detailing plans for the newly formed IT-ISAC is scheduled to be held at 11:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday. Other organizations involved in the new center include the Information Technology Association of America, Veridian, Symantec, RSA Security, Securify, Titan Systems and Verisign Global Registry Services.

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