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US Firms Brace for Cyber War

A new breed of large-scale cyber attack threatens to wreak havoc on U.S. businesses and government organizations, according to Rutgers professor Michael Lesk.

The academic used the example of last April's cyber mayhem in Estonia to illustrate this point during his keynote at yesterday's Business Continuity and Corporate Security show in New York.

"What happened in Estonia last year was the first example of cyber war -- a cyber attack directed against a whole country," he said.

The Denial of Service (DOS) attack against the Baltic state, which followed the government's decision to move a Soviet-era war memorial, also underlined the ease with which critical systems can be brought down.

"That attack was really cheap, and yet it forced the whole country to break its connections with the Internet," said Lesk, estimating that the DOS attack cost the attackers around $100,000. "There's a lot of people in the world who would be willing to spend that money to inconvenience their competitors or retaliate for some perceived slight."

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