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[FYI] Cyber attacks on rise as hackers wise up to beat security


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Thursday 19th August 99 

                      Cyber attacks on rise as hackers
                      wise up to beat security systems 

     Bill Goodwin reports, @ Computerweekly, c 1999 Reed Business
     Information Limited 

Cyber attacks are increasing dramatically as hackers and virus writers
learn new techniques to evade computer security systems. 

During the first half of 1999, 1,700 serious recorded cyber attacks
cost businesses worldwide more than $7bn (£4.43bn), although this is
probably just the tip of the iceberg, research by security consultancy
mi2g revealed in a report for the Cabinet Office. 

By the end of the year, cyber attacks are likely to have caused more
than $20bn worth of damage, with the number of serious reported
incidents expected to rise from just over 1,000 in 1998 to an
estimated 3,000. 

Between March and June this year, pro-Serbian hackers infiltrated
government and military sites, FTSE-1000 companies, two UK Internet
service providers, universities and e-commerce start-up companies, the
report said. 

Hackers working from Russia, Latvia, Serbia and Bulgaria sent e-mails
containing embedded viruses capable of deleting files from hard disks,
via hijacked mail transfer systems, the group said. Some attacks
targeted as many as 100,000 systems simultaneously. Further damage was
caused by Mellissa, Chernobyl and ExploreZip virus attacks. 

Although most cyber attacks involve guessing passwords and exploiting
security holes in operating systems and programmes, there are signs
that hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated. 

New tricks reported this year include forging Internet protocol
addresses, hijacking log-in sessions and exploiting the source routing
options in operating systems, mi2g's report said. 

Cyber attacks are increasing at a rate of 45% a year. But many
incidents go unreported by organisations worried about bad publicity
or simply unable to detect breaches. 

Too few senior board directors realise that cyberspace is such a
dangerous world, said mi2g managing director DK Matai. 

"The recent share price decline in the stock of those companies that
have been attacked on the Internet or have suffered IT system outages
makes a compelling case for why board directors must take notice of
cyber security," he said. 

         Tel UK 07000 642400 Fax UK 07000 642401 mi2g is a member of
         Trilateral Group 
          Chairman Sir Christopher Benson Directors D K Matai, G F
          Hancock, C M Wood

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