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Hurricanes Spark Security Threats

The Department of Homeland Security is urging data center managers in areas ravaged by hurricane Katrina to be on their guard for hackers and criminals looking to exploit the disaster and gain access to critical systems.

With the southern U.S. now bracing itself for hurricane Rita, officials at the Departments Computer Emergency Readiness Team (CERT) have warned users in the storm-ravaged region to be on the lookout for electronic threats that “may attempt to exploit new vulnerabilities or take advantage of existing vulnerabilities.”

In a warning on the CERT Website, the agency warns that IT systems used to control the likes of electricity generation, water supplies, transport, and manufacturing are all potentially at risk from attack as the region attempts to get back on its feet.

With users fighting to get their data centers up and running, CERT warns that new system configurations “could potentially leave systems vulnerable to cyber attacks.” Officials add that these, "may come from a threat agent who is targeting a specific system or may come from a virus, worm, Trojan or other malicious software.”

Even in less challenging times, Trojans, which appear harmless but install malicious code across IT systems, strike fear into the hearts of IT managers. There is concern that there are relatively few technologies on the market to deal with this type of threat (see Beware of the Trojans!).

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