NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Attacks on Corporate Computers Up Dramatically

January 30, 2002

Cyber attacks are becoming more common and targeted, according to the Internet security firm Riptech. Moreover, the trend is only going to increase, it said.

  • Tracking the security breaches of 300 clients globally, the company verified at least 128,678 cyber attacks for July to December 2001.
  • While few of the attacks detected posed a "severe threat," Riptech says it was surprised by the volume.
  • The study did not include attacks using "worms," which are reproducing programs that run independently and travel across network connections.

The main difference between viruses and worms is the method by which they reproduce and spread. Including worms in the count would increase the number of attacks by 63 percent.

A small number of countries were the source of the vast majority of attacks. Some 30 percent came from within the U.S. In terms of the number of attacks launched per Internet user, Israel was the largest source of activity in the six months studied.

Source: Renae Merle, "Computer Attacks on Companies Up Sharply," Washington Post, January 28, 2002


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