SAN FRANCISCO -- Just like e-commerce, electronic crime is a booming business, according to a survey released by the Computer Security Institute and the San Francisco FBI Computer Intrusion Squad on Wednesday.
The study found that 70 percent of CSI's 585 member companies that responded to its survey detected the unauthorized use of their computer systems in the last 12 months -- up from 62 percent the year before.
"Isn't e-commerce booming? Then e-crime is booming," said Richard Power, editorial director and analyst for the Computer Security Institute.
"The Internet revolution is going on regardless, but the more commerce that goes online, the more crime that goes online as well."
While not a scientific estimate of computer crime, the report does measure the anonymous admissions of more than 640 security professionals who are part of CSI.
Insiders the biggest fear
More than three-quarters of those professionals identified hackers as a security threat, but insiders concerned the respondents more, with 81 percent worried about disgruntled employees.
CSI's Power explained that professional hackers are more of a threat, however. "That's the real problem, not a juvenile hacker," he said. "The point is, if a 16-year-old kid can do (what we have seen), then what are the professionals doing?"
The report also indicates that corporate computer systems are far from secure. Almost 90 percent of the security professionals who answered the survey detected a security threat, which includes unauthorized access as well as improper use of a corporate computer or e-mail and computer viruses.
Of those intrusions, only 42 percent of the companies affected put a dollar sign on the amount of damage done. The total: $266 million.
With only one computer security administrator per 1,000 computers, the situation may not get any better soon.