Cyber attacks - a greater threat than ever before

Beware harder hitting code... and your own employees
Written by Will Sturgeon, Contributor

Beware harder hitting code... and your own employees

Companies worldwide are experiencing a sharp rise in the severity of cyber attacks. According to Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report, blended threats, such as viruses, worms or Trojans which combine with an internet or server vulnerability to affect an attack, pose the greatest cyber threat to company security. Such attacks rose 80 per cent over the second half of 2002 - as the Klez infestation and Bugbear made headlines for all the wrong reasons. Symantec also highlighted the threat posed by network applications such as instant messaging and peer-to-peer software - as well as old-fashioned operator error - as reasons for an increasing variety of severe threats. Perhaps indicative of the part 'operator error' can play in enabling a cyber attack, such as a virus outbreak, is the fact that Symantec's research revealed Friday lunchtimes to be the most common times for a severe cyber attack to begin. With users winding down for the weekend - and perhaps more likely to freely open email attachments - it is little wonder virus writers bent on chaos find it their most fruitful time of the week. But it's a fact companies would do well to bear in mind. The survey revealed 21 per cent of companies have experienced at least one severe cyber attack in the past six months. In an age when many companies are performing large numbers of transactions electronically, serious downtime resulting from virus attacks can cripple a business and equate to millions in lost revenues and expensive man hours spent on recovery. For more on Symantec's findings and methodology, see: http://www.symantec.com
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