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Ponying up for real-time security alerts

A key security organization is planning to offer its warnings on Internet security hazards to a wider audience--for a fee.

    A key security organization is planning to offer its warnings on Internet security hazards to a wider audience--for a fee.

    CERT Coordination Center, formerly known as the Computer Emergency Response Team at Carnegie Mellon University, and the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA), an electronics industry trade organization, on Thursday launched the Internet Security Alliance (ISA).

    The new organization will deliver up-to-the-minute warnings on viruses and security attacks to companies willing to pay anywhere from $2,500 to $70,000 annually for its service. Members will receive warnings roughly 45 days before the information is available to the public.

    Previously, CERT provided up-to-the-minute alerts of the latest Internet security threats primarily to the federal government, which funds the organization. With the new alliance in place, CERT, the EIA and other members are offering real-time warnings on Net security hazards to subscribers.

    "The difference here is the ISA is open to businesses regardless of sector," said Dave McCurdy, president of the EIA "Our mission is to increase the awareness within corporate leadership of the risk and help them provide the tools to manage those risks."

    Founding members of the new alliance pay $70,000 annually for access to CERT's database, which provides early warning advisories of security attacks, along with research and other data. Annual fees for other members will range from $2,500 to $50,000 depending on the company's size.

    The founding members of the ISA include some big corporate names, including the Nasdaq Stock Market, Exodus Communications, VeriSign and TRW. McCurdy said that in the near term the group will focus on marketing efforts to enlist other businesses to support it.