Cyber Attacks: Don’t Blink

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In his ICCS conference presentation Thursday on “Defending Cyberspace: A Practitioner’s Enduring Journey,” Simon Y. Liu, Ph.D., said that back in 2001, a computer network had up to 338 days to patch its system before it suffered fatal file information losses. By the year 2005, however, the window of opportunity had shrunk. Today, the “window of remediation” to recover files can be minutes or even seconds. In fact, Liu, who is the director of the office of computer and communications systems for the U.S. National Library of Medicine, said that a human response to an e-mail virus is still possible, but e-mail worms and blended threats can no longer be stopped by human intervention; only pro-active software can defend such attacks.

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