Terror in the US: IT firms work on under tight security

In the aftermath of the series of terrorist attacks that destroyed New York's World Trade Centre towers and part of the Pentagon...

In the aftermath of the series of terrorist attacks that destroyed New York's World Trade Centre towers and part of the Pentagon building in Washington, major technology companies around the US kept their operations going under heightened security.

Some major hardware and software vendors with facilities near the Pentagon and the World Trade Centre were able to evacuate employees and close offices yesterday.

Sun Microsystems had 300 sales staff based on the 25th and 26th floors in the South Tower of the World Trade Centre, though many typically work away from the office. A company representative said: "We do not have a figure as far as how many people were there. We have been working all day to get in touch with employees."

One knowledge management firm called TripleHop Technologies had its offices on the 53rd floor of the World Trade Centre. No officials of the company could be reached.

Compaq was able to clear its sales and services employees out of the company's Manhattan office but a consultant with Compaq's services organisation was on board American Airlines Flight 11, which collided with one of the World Trade Centre towers. Compaq said it was "still taking roll call" of its employees.

The co-founder and chief technology officer of Akamai Technologies, Daniel Lewin, was also confirmed to have died on Flight 11.

Oracle lost one employee who was on board one of the hijacked planes. Another six Oracle employees were believed to be in the towers at the time of the attack, according to media reports.

Microsoft shut its New York and Washington offices but kept most of its operations around the world open.

Lucent Technologies stepped up security and advised local managers to choose whether to close individual facilities.

Exodus Communications, a California-based Web hosting company, kept its operations going despite the spike in Internet traffic that flooded its 44 Web hosting facilities around the world.

Exodus, which hosts Web sites for some large Internet media properties such as the Web operations of USA Today and Yahoo, shifted most of its efforts to keeping its Web hosting facilities safe. "We have increased security at all of our data centres worldwide and are continuing to monitor the situation," the company said.

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