Tuesday, May 10, 2005

NYT: Internet Attack Called Broad and Long Lasting by Investigators

The New York Times: Internet Attack Called Broad and Long Lasting by Investigators

Looks like someone made off with some Cisco source code. Cisco routers and firewalls are the backbone of the Internet. If you want to be an network engineer, you have to be schooled in ways of configuring and securing Cisco equipment. There is no other way.

The NYT reports:
The incident seemed alarming enough: a breach of a Cisco Systems network in which an intruder seized programming instructions for many of the computers that control the flow of the Internet.

Now federal officials and computer security investigators have acknowledged that the Cisco break-in last year was only part of a more extensive operation - involving a single intruder or a small band, apparently based in Europe - in which thousands of computer systems were similarly penetrated.

Investigators in the United States and Europe say they have spent almost a year pursuing the case involving attacks on computer systems serving the American military, NASA and research laboratories.

The break-ins exploited security holes on those systems that the authorities say have now been plugged, and beyond the Cisco theft, it is not clear how much data was taken or destroyed. Still, the case illustrates the ease with which Internet-connected computers - even those of sophisticated corporate and government networks - can be penetrated, and also the difficulty in tracing those responsible.

Government investigators and other computer experts sometimes watched helplessly while monitoring the activity, unable to secure some systems as quickly as others were found compromised.

Maybe one vendor supplying the backbone of the Internet isn't such a great idea after all.


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