By Joseph Menn, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
August 26, 2008
Three very big and very different computer security breaches that have
dominated recent headlines did more than show how badly the Internet
needs major repairs. They also exposed the huge rift between corporate
America and the federal government over who should fix it,
cyber-security experts say.
In the last few months, law enforcement officials cracked an
international ring that tapped customer databases and trafficked in tens
of millions of credit card numbers; a researcher uncovered a major flaw
that permits hackers to steer some Web surfers to fake versions of
popular websites filled with malicious software; and computer assaults,
which some researchers said they had traced back to Russia's state-run
telecommunications firms, crippled websites belonging to the country of
Yet the episodes did little to boost cyber security higher on the
agendas of the federal government or the two major presidential
"Nothing is happening," said Jerry Dixon, the former director of the
National Cyber Security Division at the Department of Homeland Security.
"This has got to be in the top five national security priorities."
Dixon is just one of hundreds of technology executives and experts who
have been saying for years that Washington needs to do much more to
protect consumers, businesses and the government itself from attacks by
criminal hackers and those supported by rival nations.
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