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Attack 'may damage public confidence'

Aled Miles
Aled Miles: Large companies must wake up to Internet security  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Although Microsoft has been downplaying the severity of a hacker attack on its computer network, experts say damage to public confidence may already be setting in.

Aled Miles, of Internet Security Technology company Symantec, told CNN's World Business Today programme that a security breach was bound to have an effect on the brand of a company.

Miles said he thought there were a number of possible motivations for the attack, but thought it unlikely that the hacker was attempting to hold Microsoft's source code hostage.

"It could also have been done for publicity. You've also got the motivation of respect in the hacker community. All of these things converge," he said.

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Miles said he did not believe Microsoft was wrong to attempt to keep its source code secret. "They're protecting what's at the very heart of their organisation. I think they're right to protect it in this way."

He said he did not believe lax security could be blamed. "I don't think the security is an issue. It's like the house analogy -- you can block up your doors and windows, you'll be secure, but you won't be productive because you won't be able to get in and out."

But Miles warns that all large companies should not be complacent.

"The Internet is creating a world of e-mail ... and the perimeter fence around companies is being broken down. There is software, there's policy management -- and all of these things need to be used by corporations, from the IT director to the board, to try to reduce vulnerability."

But he added: "I think the reality is that a determined hacker will get in and risk and reputation will be at stake."



RELATED STORY:
CNNfn.com: Microsoft's big hack attack
October 27, 2000

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