ADSL hacking threat

Domestic broadband availability presents security hazard to e-business

Domestic broadband availability presents security hazard to e-business

Domestic broadband availability presents security hazard to e-business

Lindsay Clark

The introduction of broadband Internet access to homes this year will increase the ferocity of the denial of service hacking attacks on e-businesses, according to security experts.

The attacks, which crippled e-commerce giants such as Amazon, eBay and Yahoo earlier this year, rely on hackers taking over computers to bombard Web sites with electronic requests.

The volume of requests can be enough to make a trading Web site unavailable.

Gil Shwed, chief executive officer of Internet security company Check Point, said the introduction of "always on" high bandwidth to the home, together with the continuing advances in home computing power would present hackers with a vastly increased capacity to launch distributed denial of service attacks on e-businesses.

"The fact that there are going to be very fast networks around the world, with home users having broadband Internet access, means there will be a major security threat," he said. "This is going to be a big challenge. If an attack is launched from a few sites in universities, for example, then you can call their IT departments and get it stopped. But if it comes from 1,000 homes it would be much more difficult."

Steve Hunt, vice-president for secure e-business with the Giga Information Group, said that if nothing was done to prevent consumer devices from hosting attacks, there could be an increased risk to e-business. "There is not any new risk, but there will be a lot more instances and a lot more vulnerability to attacks," he said.

BT plans to introduce broadband ADSL to UK homes during July this year. Rival services will be available in July 2001.

Shwed said Check Point would be working with ISPs and telecoms firms providing consumer services to help reduce the impact of distributed denial of service attacks launched from homes.

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