Cyber criminals are looking for holes in school networks so they can seize control of computers to launch attacks anonymously, experts say--distributing spam, viruses, or "Trojan Horse" assaults while often avoiding prosecution. The problem has grown so pervasive that computer-security experts have taken to referring to these so-called botnet attacks as an "army of darkness"--and education institutions are this army's targets of opportunity.

Craig Schiller, the chief information security officer at Portland State University who is widely considered a leading authority on "botnets," or collections of computers under a hacker's control, said school officials' desire to keep computer networks open to


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