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Government planning cyberalert system

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security will announce details of its plans for a cyber alert system Wednesday morning.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to announce details of a cyberalert system on Wednesday, two days after a virus called MyDoom spread rapidly across the Internet.

The system, which will be detailed by the department's National Cyber Security Division, could mimic the color-coded scheme the government uses to warn citizens and alert law enforcement authorities of terrorism threats, a source familiar with some details of the plan said.

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The latest e-mail virus, MyDoom, underscores the need for a system to alert and inform Internet users. The mass-mailing computer virus took off on Monday, spreading faster than any previous virus, security experts said this week. The alert system could include a common way for home and business users to report security issues and Internet threats.

Details of the early warning system will be outlined by Amit Yoran, the division's director, according to a press release issued by the department Tuesday.

The announcement comes about two months after officials met with technology industry experts to form plans in five areas: awareness for home users and small businesses, cybersecurity early warning, corporate governance and security, technical standards and building better security into software.

Those meetings built upon the National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, a policy blueprint the Bush Administration released almost a year ago. While the strategy has been criticized as being soft on an industry keen to avoid regulation, several administration officials talked tough at the National Cyber Security Summit in December.

The National Cyber Alert System will be announced at a press conference in Washington, D.C., early Wednesday.