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Computer Attacks: What They Are and How to Defend Against Them



Peter M. Mell


Although a host of technologies exists to detect and prevent attacks against computers, a human must coordinate responding to a successful network penetration. At the same time, the majority of systems administrators are not prepared to handle a sophisticated attacker. NIST recognizes this problem and is focusing its efforts on enabling system administrators to respond to computer breaches. We focus our recent and future work on three major areas:* The Federal Computer Incident Response Capability (FedCIRC) Pilot,* A guide to create computer security incident response capabilities, and* Statistical sampling and categorization of known computer attacks.
ITL Bulletin -


attacks, computer incident handling, computer incident response, computer incidents, computer security, FedCIRC, incident handling, incident response, statistics


Mell, P. (1999), Computer Attacks: What They Are and How to Defend Against Them, ITL Bulletin, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 18, 2024)
Created May 26, 1999, Updated May 4, 2021