2 Students Crack Netscape Security Breach Puts Sensitive Data in Jeopardy

Article excerpt

A security flaw in Netscape Communications Corp.'s popular software illustrates the need for stronger methods to protect sensitive information on the Internet, experts said Tuesday.

Two graduate students discovered that a computer user could crack the security code in the highly regarded Netscape Navigator in less than a minute and published their findings on the Internet. Netscape said it will fix the defect within a week.

Computer security experts warned individuals and businesses using the Internet that financial data and other information may be less secret than they think.

"This just underscores that Internet security is still not ready for prime time," said Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies Research International in San Jose, Calif. "We have a lot to learn in that area - and a lot of work to do."

Netscape, based in Mountain View, Calif., makes software letting computer users browse the World Wide Web portion of the Internet, the vast global mesh of computer networks. The Web provides easy links between information in computers. …