Protecting the infrastructure of the United States from cyber attacks must be at the forefront for businesses and governments, said a range of experts speaking last week at an Internet security forum in Austin, TX.

Bill Conner, president & CEO of Dallas-based Internet security provider Entrust, Inc., joined U.S. Representative Lamar Smith (R-TX) and other cyber crime experts to outline actions needed to address computer hacking and other cyber crimes.

"For our economic security, our national security, and our continued technological growth, someone must sound the alarm that the serious threat posed by cyber crime should be confronted with serious deterrents," said Smith, who is chairman of the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee. "Governments and businesses must go beyond basic Internet security to protect privacy and security, cornerstones of freedom and liberty. This cannot be sacrificed."

"The tragic events of September 11 changed Internet security requirements forever," said Conner. "Now an enhanced Internet security foundation must required for electronic commerce activity in both government and business."

Carnegie Mellon University recently estimated that cyber crime incidents increased by nearly 150% during 2001, indicating that Internet security has moved beyond a tactical issue to a strategic corporate imperative, added Conner.

"The requirement for Internet security is now at the CEO and presidential level," he said. "The importance of enhanced Internet security has been further elevated through recent industry events. Security is now something everyone needs to address."