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<p>COLUMBIA, S.C. – As holiday celebrations fade, here’s a sobering thought for the New Year: While credit unions and their members move more of their financial lives onto the Web, some leading Internet security experts say breaches, worms, viruses and others attacks will only increase. In fact, says John Pescatore of Gartner Research’s Information Security Strategies: “Enterprises should not assume that the Internet will reach the mean-times-between-failures of private networks and other utility services and should plan for periodic outages until 2006. “Where they require non-stop processing, enterprises should contract for alternate connections,” Pescatore said. Is the Gartner vice president overly pessimistic? Will the white hats of technology have finally thwarted the hackers, crackers and denial-of-service attackers enough to declare victory four scant years from now? “I think it’s an optimistic warning,” says Scott Mackelprang, director of security and compliance at Digital Insight (www.digitalinsight.com), the California-based provider of electronic services and Internet hosting for thousands of financial institutions, including hundreds of credit unions. “I don’t know about outages of the whole Internet, but certainly parts of it. And certainly denial-of-service attacks are not going to end after four or five years,” Mackelprang says, adding that the growing ability of cyber-criminals to encrypt their own weapons (viruses, worms, etc.) only makes the job of protection increasingly difficult.</p>

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