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The BBC's David Willis
"Major organisations could be the next victims, experts heard"
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Wednesday, 10 May, 2000, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
Warning of more internet attacks
manila computer user
The Love Bug, which originated in Manila, caused chaos
Internet virus creators could launch new attacks similar to the devastating Love Bug, the world's leading internet security experts have been warned.

The head of the world policing organisation Interpol told the Internet Defense Summit in California that in cyberspace governments were unable to fulfil their traditional role as protectors of the people.

Speaking by satellite, Ray Kendall, a former Special Branch officer at Scotland Yard, said it was up to the public and the private sector to develop a strategy for anticipating internet attacks and dealing with them.

More than 100 technology experts and software engineers gathered at the conference to hear dark warnings that several major organisations could be the next victims.

The meeting - heralded as one of the most important in the history of the internet - came as investigations continued into the Love Bug, which plunged global computer systems into chaos last week.

One man has been arrested and released while his girlfriend is being sought.

Internet fraud centre

At the same time, US Attorney General Janet Reno has announced the creation of an Internet Fraud Complaint Centre, operated jointly by FBI and the US National Centre on White Collar Crime.

Janet Reno says international efforts must combat cyber-crime
The centre will have a special internet site where users can report businesses or individuals who have defrauded them.

During the conference, a new early warning system was unveiled which acts by scanning public sites, such as chat rooms, for information.

The Silicon Valley manufacturer said it had already pinpointed a series of cyber-crimes in the making, including plots to vandalise sites belonging to key organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation.

The experts also heard about the threat of "a new arms race" - with those on one side seeking to wreak havoc through the web and those on the other seeking to thwart them.

Meanwhile, the world's largest software manufacturer, Microsoft, which was represented at the gathering, has said that attempts by the US Justice Department to divide the company into two will inhibit attempts to clamp down on cyber-crime.

Further plans to crack down on cyber-crime will be made next week, when experts from the Group of Eight meet in Paris.

The UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US, and Russia have called a three-day summit of information technology experts.

In particular, the conference will aim to reconcile the different approaches to the problem adopted in the US and Europe.

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See also:

09 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Police hunt Love Bug gang
09 May 00 | Americas
Defending cyberspace
04 May 00 | UK
'Love Bug' bites UK hard
15 Nov 99 | Sci/Tech
E-mail security bubble bursts
30 Mar 99 | Sci/Tech
Melissa virus goes global
06 May 00 | Sci/Tech
Why write computer viruses?
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