Ten hackers or hacking groups have tried in total more than 1,000 times this year to breach the network security of Australian-based organisations, according to research by networking vendor 3Com.
3Com's Asia Pacific CyberThreat Research found the top 10 hackers to target Australian private and public bodies had racked up 1,337 attempts to compromise networks already for the calendar year to 23 June.
The most prominent hacker or hackers, "hackbsd crew" -- named after the BSD operating system -- racked up 369 attempted intrusions from January to June.
Some distance behind was "Hacker1" with 204 attempts, and "TiTHacK" with 142. Other top 10 hackers were aLpTurkTegin (134), coldraider (106), Amfibi-Slayer (104), TC-THC (102), iskorpitx (69), LORD (60) and oldschool (47).
The attempts were reported by security researchers and academics such as those from the SANS Internet Storm Center, according to 3Com company TippingPoint's Digital Vaccine Team, which conducted the research.
The research also claimed there were dozens of attempts on state government Web sites from October last year to 23 June. Hackers tried to penetrate NSW government sites 93 times, Victorian government sites 53 times and Western Australian sites 42 times.
Despite the number of assaults, Ken Low, Asia-Pacific security manager for 3Com, said they were declining relative to past years.
This may, he said, be due to a realisation by IT workers that traditional security measures like firewalls, intrusion detection systems and antivirus software were not good enough unless complemented by hardware-based measures.
"Antivirus systems are good for known viruses, but if a virus attacks Australia first, other countries would actually benefit from that," he said.
Other software-based methods, said Low, like firewalls, were also flawed.
Firewalls could not protect many modern organisations that needed to allow Web traffic to do business, he said.
"Every organisation needs port 80 open today to allow Web traffic," Low said.