Local News

Computer Security a Growing Concern

Posted March 8, 1998

— Break-ins of military and university computer systems have the FBI looking to Israel for the culprit. An 18-year old Israeli, calling himself "Analyzer," says he's the hacker. WRAL OnLine reporter Tom Lawrence has been following the story and checked our state government's computer security.

Computer security is a growing issue and problem. The state's big computers hold millions of pieces of information about us. I found most of it is well protected. Security is an ongoing process and it's not always effective.

Huge computers at theState Information Processing Service, SIPS, process mmillions of transactions a day. Your taxes, driver's licenses, and other personal information is housed here.

Even with sophisticated security, this facility has been hacked. Luckily, says director Dennis McCarty, but no damage was done.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."We have a team in place that stops, resolves what happened and brings it to closure. So far, we haven't had any hacking that's been done that we haven't been able to resolve."The Internetcarries an interviewwith the Israeli hacker. He says he's broken into a thousand computer systems not to do harm, only point out security flaws.

Several U.S. military sites were hacked, now the FBI is searching for him. McCarty says our state's information is protected with hardware and software.

Listen toauorreal audiofiles."It's behind, if you will, a firewall with security software on our mainframe system that's not generally available to the Internet."Emilie Schmidt, of the Department of Commerce, says picture computers as a medieval castle with an invisible moat around it. That's the firewall."That's what we're trying to do is establish a secure perimeter around our information and data in the state and then we can lower the drawbridge so we can control traffic going in and out."With more people using the internet, making the state's computers secure is a priority.

More resources for security will be requested next month by the state's information technology managers. Government, business and universities are taking security and the threat of hackers very seriously.


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