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Officials: Hack attacks amount to little

ISPs, security firms unaware of any impact from activity

Officials: Hack attacks amount to little


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A series of "wide-scale hacker attacks" the government had issued a warning about amounted to virtually nothing, federal and Internet officials said Tuesday.

The National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) issued a statement Monday afternoon saying it had "received credible, but nonspecific information that wide-scale hacker attacks against United States Web sites and Internet service providers (ISPs) are being planned ... possibly emanating from Western Europe."

The warning initially came from Italian authorities, said Tiffany Olson of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board.

She said very limited attempts at "denial-of-service" attacks were noted on the East Coast about 3 a.m. Tuesday, later moved to the West Coast and were continuing at noon EDT.

Unlike true distributed denial-of-service attacks, in which a large number of computers overwhelm a single site with requests, this attack involved very few computers, allowing the ISPs to isolate and block them, she said.

Several ISPs told CNN they experienced no problems from the hacking efforts.

America Online Inc., the nation's largest ISP, reported seeing no sign of any attack. (AOL Time Warner is the parent company of CNN.com.)

AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said the company routinely works with the NIPC on security issues and regularly monitors its network.

"We haven't seen anything unusual or alarming," said Graham. "There hasn't been any impact on our members or our service."

Uncertain origin

Online security firm Riptech Inc. said that as of noon EDT they had not witnessed any notable evidence of an attack.

Uncertain origin

"Riptech is not seeing a significant increase in overall attack activity, nor is Riptech seeing a significant increase in attack activity specifically from Western Europe," said Tim Belcher, Riptech Inc.'s chief technology officer, in a prepared statement. "Furthermore, Riptech evaluated attack activity detected by clients of a large ISP and did not detect any significant increase in attacks."

Belcher added that an attack may have occurred without passing through Riptech's monitoring system, or the attack may have been too minor to stand out from the other daily attacks they encounter.

Some experts indicated the attacks were so easily foiled that they did not register any impact on the health of the Internet, The Associated Press reported.

"We haven't seen anything out of the ordinary," said Chris Rouland of Atlanta-based Internet Security Systems Inc., which sells protective software to thousands of companies. "We're paying attention to any sites that may go down."

A spokeswoman for Microsoft Corp. in Redmond, Washington, told The Associated Press that there was no immediate sign of an Internet attack.

Officials had "no sense" where the attack attempts were coming from, but Olson said there is no indication that any terrorist group has so far attempted an Internet attack.

On September 18, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Board will be putting out a national strategy to secure cyberspace, to protect against Internet attacks, Olson said.

-- CNN Correspondent Jeanne Meserve, CNN Producer Brad Wright and CNN Sci-Tech Editor Daniel Sieberg contributed to this report.



 
 
 
 


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