It was Friday night, and Alexis Rosen was about to leave work when one of his computers sent him a piece of E-mail. If this had been the movies, the message would have been presaged by something dramatic--the woo-ga sound of a submarine diving into combat, say. But of course it wasn't. This was a line of dry text automatically generated by one of the machines that guard his network. It said simply, "The mail servers are down." The alert told Rosen that his 6,000 clients were now unable to receive E-mail.

Rosen, 30, is a cool customer, not the type...

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