Clinton To Convene Security Summit Next Week

In the wake of this week’s attacks on some of the Internet’s most popular Web sites, the White House has announced that it will convene an Internet security summit with high-tech industry leaders next week.

According to published reports, as many as 20 top Internet executives will meet with President Clinton, Attorney General Janet Reno, Commerce Secretary William Daley and National Security Adviser Samuel R. Berger on Tuesday.

Companies that have reportedly been invited to participate include several of those that were sabotaged by hackers this week, such as eBay, Inc. and Yahoo!.

Other invitees include such heavyweights as IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Cisco Systems, Inc.

Additionally, sources say that America Online and MCI WorldCom, Inc. will also be asked to attend.

Potential Security Threat

Some industry observers are contending that the conference, which is to be organized by the National Security Council, is a signal that the Clinton administration views the denial-of-service (DoS) attacks against Web sites as a potentially serious security threat as opposed to a prank by a group of thrill-seekers.

Already, the federal government is spending billions of dollars (US$) per year on infrastructure improvements that will protect the Pentagon against cyber-attacks. However, industry experts and government officials alike say that the events of this week served to underscore the vulnerability of the private sector.

It has also been reported that the Pentagon has ordered an examination of more than a million U.S. military computers worldwide to make sure that none have been compromised by hackers.

EU Concerned About Internet Attacks

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) responded to the hacker attacks Thursday by pledging to speed up its efforts to build up its cyber-defenses.

“Coordination on cyber-crime is already under way between [EU] states and with the United States,” the European Commission said in a statement. “The commission will do its utmost to accelerate progress.”

An EU summit scheduled for next month in Lisbon, Portugal will discuss Internet security and how Europe can better utilize new technologies and create jobs. Additionally, EU regulators plan to develop guidelines on fighting cyber-crime for the 15 EU member states by summer.

The guidelines will include security measures for ISPs and will also focus on the importance of using the latest encryption and filtering technology to ward off such attacks.

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