WorldCom security hole fixed with help of hacker

Telecommunications giant WorldCom Inc. today confirmed that a computer hacker recently alerted the company to a security hole in its network that apparently left customer networks vulnerable to intruders.

Though the security hole was there, no customer networks were compromised before the repairs were made last week, said WorldCom spokeswoman Jennifer Baker.

"We learned on Friday that due to a human error, unauthorized access could be made to the administrative internal data network," Baker said. "The technical team took immediate action" to correct the problem, which was caused by a router that had an "inappropriate filter." The filter was removed, she said, and the router was reconfigured to close the hole.

Baker said the Clinton, Miss.-based company wouldn't comment further on the configuration of the security hole or the repairs that were made to fix it. "We do really want to assure customers that the WorldCom networks are secure," she said. WorldCom, which provides telecommunications and data services to large companies, wouldn't name any of its customers.

The hacker who apparently discovered the security hole is Adrian Lamo of San Francisco, who assisted WorldCom in finding and fixing the hole.

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Todd R. Weiss

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