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SecurityFocus: Ex-CIA Chief: Beware Spy-Viruses

May 19, 2000, 02:35 (3 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Poulsen)

"Former CIA director R. James Woolsey, speaking on a panel here Wednesday, warned that international spies and terrorists would soon wield a more purposeful and dangerous breed of computer virus than ever seen before. Unlike Melissa, CIH or the recent ILOVEYOU virus, these viruses would not be destructive, but "instructive," Woolsey said."

"As described by Woolsey, an "instructive" virus would spread covertly and use minimal system and network resources as it instructs computers to perform certain functions undetected, like stealing particular secrets from specific targets."

"Woolsey gave a law firm with a sensitive case as an example victim. "They get a virus into the local area network that says, 'transfer at midnight, Sunday night, all files on such-and-such a case to this particular outside computer,'" Woolsey explained. "If you've got an instructive virus in your system that is reading out your files to one of your competitors, that may have been going on for some time."

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