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Hackers Target Federal Agencies Networks

The Department of Agriculture assaulted another government agency during the last summer (2006), without even the United States Department of Agriculture's knowledge, informed FCW on May 21, 2007.

The hacking took place when some USDA machines got affected by a worm. Department of Agriculture's experts recognized the affected PCs by their computer addresses, detached them from the network and then disinfected them, stated USDA's chief information security officer, Lynn Allen, reported the May 21, 2007 copy of FCW.

Government data reveal that incursions on national networks are becoming progressively malevolent. "The lethal malicious software after embedding into the operating system, allows the hacker to manipulate it clandestinely," alleged Ed Skodis, creator of Intelguardians, an information security consulting firm, and writer of book on malware, reported the May 21, 2007 issue of FCW.

"Cyber-terrorists prosper by using malware to gather data, and they utilize that money to evolve high-tech software that's tougher to discover", told Ed Skodis.

He alleged that spear-phishing strikes bypass department firewalls and other security measures by duping workers into opening links in official-looking counterfeit e-mail contents.

From 2004, US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) Einstein Program (an enterprise that creates computer-related situational knowledge throughout the US Government) has been supervising the network portals of involved agencies for traffic patterns that identify the existence of computer worms or other unsolicited traffic.

Justice Department's chief information officer, Vance Hitch stated, "Einstein has made DoJ networks more impregnable, but broader involvement will boost up security. The more information you get about person/persons being hacked and by whom, more profitable it is for everyone," he said. "It is like joining dots," informed FCW on May 21, 2007.

US-CERT compiles data that manifests a rising demand for the possibilities provided by Einstein. US-CERT reported 23,978 cases in financial year 2006, and over 20,000 cases have already been registered in fiscal 2007, averred Jerry Dixon, director of Homeland Security Department's National Cyber Security Division, which handles US-CERT, describes FCW's May 21, 2007 edition. Every fresh incident of worm or malware disclosed to US-CERT is regarded as a separate case, regardless of whether it infects 10 or 10,000 federal agency machines.

Related article: Hackers Redirect Windows Live Search to Malicious Sites

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