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SAN FRANCISCO -- Across the world, thousands of home computers have been conscripted into zombie computer gangs that cyber criminals use to spam, attack and defraud others on the net, causing considerable consternation to law enforcement and security professionals alike, who count the so-called botnets as the most vexing net threat today.
Citing the attacks on Estonia last year by Russian nationalist hackers, Siegel said botnets can "disrupt an internet-reliant society," saying that the temporary takedown of Estonian newspaper and government websites "nearly crippled the country's cyber infrastructure." Earlier in the day, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff leaned on Estonia as evidence of the need for a federal government "Manhattan Project" for computer security.
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The US homeland security chief has made a heartfelt plea to Silicon Valley workers to stand up and be counted in the fight to secure the cyber highway.
Michael Chertoff invoked the attacks of 9/11 as he sought to galvanise IT professionals and security experts.
He told the world's biggest IT security conference that serious threats to cyberspace are on "a par this country tragically experienced on 9/11".
Chertoff likened the government's attempt to improve its cyber security to the intensive effort of the Manhattan Project that brought the atomic bomb to fruition. In January, President Bush signed an order that gave the DHS and NSA greater power overseeing government computer security. Details about what the agencies are doing remain classified.