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Cisco, EarthLink, MCI Join Forces Against Cyber Attacks

Telecom equipment providers and network operators, including Cisco Systems Inc., EarthLink Inc. and MCI Inc., unveiled on Monday an alliance to combat cyber attacks.

The Fingerprint Sharing Alliance has set up an automated process for sharing attack profiles across service-provider networks. By sharing profiles, often called "fingerprints," the companies hope to stop denial-of-service attacks, worms and viruses quicker and closer to the source.

The companies will share the information via technology from Arbor Networks Inc. The software platform collects data from devices around the network and correlates the information to allow service providers to baseline the network and detect and flag any deviations.

If the anomaly is identified as an attack, the Arbor technology generates the fingerprint that's shared automatically among alliance members. Control over the distribution and receiving of fingerprints is with each service provider's administrator.

Other companies that have joined the alliance include BT Group PLC, Deutsche Telekom AG and NTT Communications Corp. A total of 18 organizations are participating in the project.