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U.S. Vulnerable To Viruses

The speed with which the love bug spread -- and its infectious power -- have shown just how vulnerable computer systems still are to outside attack.

That has computer experts rethinking the whole idea of cyber-security, reports CBS News Correspondent Jaqueline Adams.

The speed with which the "I Love You" virus traveled world-wide is ringing alarm bells with security experts.

Pentagon, Secret Service, and Justice Department computers are currently vulnerable to viruses launched by terrorist groups and rogue nations.

Former FBI Associate Director Buck Revell says, "Rather than a Pan Am 103, you shut down the aviation system or you shut down the rail system or the power transmission system, which would have essentially the same cataclysmic results."

Last year's Melissa virus did prompt authorities to at least begin thinking about computer security. But "virus defense" -- to say nothing of prevention or prosecution --is still in its infancy.

Stephen Trilling of the computer anti-virus company Symantec says, "We get 10 to 15 viruses a day...and send out protection packages to our clients at least once a week."

Trilling says viruses are like robbers, rattling individual doors. The best defense is personal. Computer users are safe, provided they keep their doors locked.

Trilling says "Don't open mail if you don't know who it's from...or if it says urgent message and you're not expecting one, be suspicious.

Just like computer folks in the Far East, American experts are also worried about a major virus attack this week. Hackers have had the entire weekend, they fear, to figure out ways to top the I Love You virus.

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