US law enforcement and intelligence agencies have so far received more than 30,000 threats from virus writers and hackers planning to turn the millennium celebration into commiseration.
Lou Marcoccio, leading Year 2000 expert at the Gartner Group, said this figure, compiled by talking to US agencies and government departments, served as a timely warning to companies to prepare their security.
"How many of those are real threats? We are hoping it's going to be zero. But if we had 30 Melissa viruses in one day, corporations would not be able to cope. Companies should not plan for that extreme, but should plan for handling some multitude of attacks," he told VNU Newswire.
Some examples of possible prevention measures were, he said, establishing links with antivirus vendors to get patches quickly, put limits on email use around that time and use the firewall to close communications, except for controlled periods.
For the event as a whole, Marcoccio recommended companies establish an 'Event Management Centre' where all the required personnel could centralise their response to any problems.
This was not simply a case of giving out the IT director's phone number, he said, but rather assembling public relations, legal, administration, Y2K project managers, supply chain co-ordinators and security in one central place. This could then serve as the single point for information gathering and external communication.
His latest and final quarterly progress figures show good progress in developed countries by all but the smallest organisations. He said while there would be some system failures in organisations, 90 per cent would be fully operational by 7 January.
But he said we should expect failures to occur throughout the year, not just around the boundary period. More than 50 per cent of Y2K related failures would occur throughout 2000 as companies continued to conduct date transactions related to 1999, implemented non compliant software without testing and processed archived data.
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