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[] India, U.S. discuss anti-hacker alerts,

India, U.S. discuss anti-hacker alerts
Oct 13, 2004

NEW DELHI (AP) - India and the United States agreed Wednesday to
develop new ways of securing data and to expand cooperation to protect
networks from destructive viruses and computer hackers. The two
countries reached the agreement at the end of a two-day conference
Wednesday of the main information technology industry organizations of
India and the United States.

"The United States is willing to begin cooperation with appropriate
government entities, including in India," said Michele Markoff, the
senior coordinator for international critical infrastructure
protection in the U.S. State Department.

"Protection of networks and information structures is as essential to
the safety of our citizens and economy as our buildings ... and
airports," Markoff told the closing session of the conference.

Markoff said that only a few months ago, the United States set up a
24-hour, seven-day-a-week monitoring system to watch for hacking or
destructive computer and software viruses.

But she said monitoring is more effective if done across the globe,
with every nation setting up a system to protect its own data and
networks and quickly sharing information on attacks. Markoff said most
nations already have someone in government or the military on 24-hour
alert who could also watch for a cyber attack.

Just how it would work will be discussed in November when the
Information Technology Association of America hosts its Indian
counterpart, the National Association of Software and Service
Companies, or NASSCOM, the two groups that met in New Delhi this week.

While governments are concerned about protecting networks against
attacks by terrorist hackers, industry leaders also want to tackle
data theft by employees or commercial hackers, computer viruses and
unwanted e-mail - or "spam" - that hurts productivity.

"We all talk about (the potential threat of) al-Qaeda, but nine out of
10 problems are employees, ex-employees, ex-partners, ex-partners of
employees, buddies they gave a password to," said Jerry Rao, the
NASSCOM chairman and founder of India's Infosys software giant.

He said NASSCOM will have "the kernel" of a voluntary employee
registry in place by March - to be handled by an outside agency - that
would confirm the background and identity of employees in India's
information technology industry, while safeguarding their privacy.

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