The U.S. Navy has underwater guerrillas who test the security of naval bases. Now U.S. business has overland guerrillas who test the security of databases. Assembled by Price Waterhouse as part of its security services, a team of hired hackers is now available to launch unannounced raids on a company's access-control systems to evaluate their vulnerability.

PW's security experts don't merely infiltrate from the outside. With the direction of a company officer, they might pose as new employees, listen to voice mail, tap into a network, set up fake identification codes, and sift through wastebaskets. (Off-limits: individuals' desks.) For fees starting at $50,000, a client gets a report on the level of information PW raiders found available, as well as recommendations for security improvements. For many, it could be money well spent: the FBI estimates that unauthorized hacking costs businesses some $5 billion a year.

Contact Price Waterhouse Data Security Penetration Studies, in New York City (212-527-8120) or Boston (617-439-7367).

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