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REPORT: INTERNET SECURITY THREAT GROWING, QUIETLY

Source: Security Wire Digest

Posted on July 11, 2002

      The number of Web-based security attacks grew at a rate of 64 percent a year during the first half of 2002, even though no single attack grabbed public attention, according to Riptech's second Internet Security Threat Report.

      "The sheer volume of attacks on the Internet is high and growing rather quickly," says Elan Yoran, executive VP of the Alexandria, Va. security firm.

      The report, based on 11 billion firewall logs and IDS alerts, found 180,000 confirmed attacks. On average, companies saw 32 attacks per week, up from 25 a week during late 2001.

      The new batch of data offers both good and bad news. "If there's a silver lining, it's that corporations have gotten better at stopping attacks," Yoran says. The number of companies that suffered a "severe" attack fell more than 50 percent.

      The report also says a small number of elite attackers are responsible for the vast majority of severe attacks.

      "I think the sense in the industry is that a lot of attacks are random and opportunistic, but our data shows that 40 percent are actually targeted at a specific company," says Yoran.

      Companies most likely to be attacked continue to be those in the high-tech, financial services and energy fields. Power companies seem to be favorite targets of late, with 70 percent reporting a severe attack, up from 57 percent from the earlier period.

      Meanwhile, the fear that cyberattacks would be launched from terrorist-harboring countries is either materializing slowly or being hidden behind less-developed Internet infrastructures.

      Riptech recorded no attacks from more than half of the countries identified by the State Department as terrorism sponsors. Countries on the longer cyberterrorism watch list accounted for just 1 percent of attacks.




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