[ISN] Wanted: Hacking Victims

From: mea culpa (jerichot_private)
Date: Fri Oct 30 1998 - 17:34:48 PST

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    Forwarded From: phreak moi <hackerelitet_private>
    Wanted: Hacking victims
    Matt Hamblen
    More companies need to come to the FBI or local police when hackers try to
    break in to their networks, an FBI agent overseeing white-collar crimes
    told computer executives this week. 
    Only 17% of 520 computer technology companies surveyed said they had
    reported evidence of hacking to police, said Richard D.  Watson, FBI
    assistant special agent in charge of white-collar crimes in Boston. He
    delivered a keynote address to software executives at The Enterprise
    Security Seminars in Cambridge, Mass., earlier this week. The event was
    sponsored by Bull Worldwide Information Systems in Billerica, Mass. 
    "If somebody hacks, we need to know that," Watson said. "Are they just
    kids or more nefarious? Is it Saddam or somebody who would commit another
    World Trade Center bombing?" Watson said FBI officials understand that
    companies are reluctant to report computer network break-ins because they
    want to avoid embarrassing publicity or potential litigation and financial
    losses if investors find out. But he pointed out that federal rules allow
    judges to shield the identity of a company making a hacking complaint, at
    least until the matter is resolved. 
    As an example, he pointed to a recent case involving a teen-ager who
    hacked a Bell Atlantic Corp. phone switch that closed down communications
    at the Worcester, Mass., airport. He said the phone company wasn't
    identified in reports of the incident until federal officials had warned
    other voice and data carriers so they could take steps to defend against
    similar hack attacks. 
    Watson's remarks had an impact on listeners, but only to a point.  "I can
    see the FBI's side," said Ted Hoffman, information systems director at
    Graybar, a wholesaler of telecommunications devices in St. Louis, Mo. "As
    a citizen, I can see how the FBI wants to protect others, but this is a
    huge responsibility for a company to tell ... the police you have a
    hacking problem," he said. 
    Watson also defended the FBI stance on exports of 128-bit key encryption
    software, saying agents feel frustrated that companies would want to
    undermine their ability to decode messages that could protect U.S.
    security or lives. 
    On that point, however, the audience was overwhelmingly opposed.  Several
    executives pointed out that sophisticated encryption software is available
    throughout the world. The only result of the U.S. policy banning
    encryption sales is that the software sales are being made from other
    countries rather than U.S. firms, analysts and businessmen in attendance
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