Owners of communications infrastructure including commercial and enterprise networks and data centers should be in a state of heightened alert against potential cyberattacks, say federal authorities.
The notice was posted at the FBIs InfraGard Web site, a partnership organization between private companies and government cybercops.
The medium-level advisory is meant as information for consideration, said an FBI spokeswoman. The full text of the advisory can be found at www.infragard.net.
Security vendors, such as managed security service provider Redsiren, which is one of the private companies participating in InfraGard, have followed the advisory with a specific list of suggestions that would make companies safe against cyberattacks.
On the list are suggestions to dramatically curb Internet usage by companies, prevent employees from using popular applications like Instant Messaging, and discontinue offering remote access to off-site employees and partners. The list can be viewed at http://www.redsiren.com/pdf/FBIalert.pdf.
These suggestions appear to fly in the face of the circumstances surrounding the recent terrorist attacks, where the Internet – and particularly instant messaging – proved an eminently useful communications medium.
Security experts at Redsiren warned that the Internet could be used as means of permanently damaging back-office information of private firms and communication network operators. Such damage could disrupt business processes that managed to stay functional even after Tuesdays tragedy.
"IM, Pointcast, multicast – any of those software products open their own connection to the Internet and need to be used very carefully -- if at all," said Dain Gary, Redsiren chief security officer.
So far no malicious attacks or new viruses linked to the trade center and Pentagon strikes have been reported.