Ex-KGB major leads US war against hackers

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Saturday, June 10, 2000

Ex-KGB major leads US war against hackers

By BEN FENTON in Washington

A former senior KGB officer who defected to America is patenting a new device to thwart hackers and could be the saviour of the US computer industry.

Victor Sheymov is also poised to become the next "dot com" multi-millionaire after he left the service of American intelligence to found a "cybersecurity" company outside Washington.

The ex-KGB major has even persuaded James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA, to join his board of directors.

Mr Sheymov was smuggled out of Moscow with his wife and daughter by the CIA. Soon he was working for the highly secretive National Security Agency (NSA) trying to find ways of breaking into the KGB communications systems that he had designed.

He turned to the private sector after falling out with the CIA over the dlrs 1 million ( pounds 670,000) he says he was promised as part of his defection package. "The CIA cheated me in a major way," he told the New York Times.

Although he defected more than 20 years ago, he only settled his differences with the American government last year. By then he had started work on his "algorithm", a set of programming instructions for a computer, which he believes can make any machine impregnable to hackers.

Hacking has become a threat to America's military and corporate infrastructure. Both the State Department and the FBI have been embarrassed by breaches of computer security.

The agency employs young hackers to test its own security and to break into the systems of foreign governments, terrorist organisations and drug syndicates.

After perfecting his algorithm, Mr Sheymov used his former NSA colleagues to test it. "We tried and we couldn't get in," said one expert hacker with 18 years of service at the agency


-- Martin Thompson (mthom1927@aol.com), June 09, 2000

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