Top Story, © Silicon.com 1998, 1999

London firms warned of Serbian cyberattack

By Felicity Ussher

"London's corporate servers risk attack from Serbian hackers"

April 09 1999, 0:25am - Security experts have warned that London's corporate servers risk attack from Serbian hackers retaliating against Nato air strikes. Until now, Serbian information warfare has been limited to government and military targets, such as Nato email servers, which were brought down ten days ago by hostile attacks.

But software consultancy, mi2g, has issued a general warning to corporate IT directors, advising them to step up their level of security. mi2g MD, Diwakar Matai, said: "There is a huge vulnerability here. Most companies need a window of 24 or 48 hours to implement their disaster recovery programs - and they only expect a single attack. They are not used to the concept of a systematic attack."

The firm's claims are backed up by military and police sources, who say Serbian hackers are already using viruses to attack US and UK businesses.

Matai claimed financial institutions and public services in London and the US are being discussed as targets by computer hackers in Serbia and Russia. He said he has privately contacted the specific companies he believes are at risk from Serb-sponsored forces. mi2g's information comes from a network of anonymous software engineers, who do penetration testing on the its behalf.

But ICSA, a security agency which monitors hacker activity in the US, was more sceptical. European director, Michael van Strein, said: "We haven't seen any mention of this. You can't tell with hackers what is speculation and what isn't." But van Strein conceded that defence-related businesses could be at risk if the air strikes go on for more than a few weeks.

The Home Office said it would not comment on issues of national security.

For more information see mi2g's Web site at www.mi2g.com

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