Fri Jan 20, 2006
Almost nine out of ten companies had a computer-security
incident last year, according to a report from the Federal Bureau of
After a survey of over 2,000 companies, the FBI found that
87 percent of those polled admitted there had been some type of security
attack. Within that group, 20 percent claimed they had been hit multiple times
by 20 or more attacks.
Most common breaches were either a virus or some spyware
penetrating the corporate network. More advanced attacks, including data sabotage
and port scans, were less frequent, according to the report.
Attacks came from 36 different countries, with the U.S. and
China marked as the source of over half the attempts, although masking
technologies made it difficult to get an accurate reading.
The average cost per company as a result of the attacks was
more than $24,000, with a total cost of $32 million. Viruses and worms
accounted for $12 million of those losses.
Other surveys have attempted to pinpoint financial losses
from network attacks, but estimates have ranged widely. The FBI believes its
cost estimates are more accurate because of the large number of survey
The FBI said the survey is a clear sign of the urgent need
for vigilance against network assaults, both internally and externally.
In its release on the survey, the agency quoted Frank
Abagnale, security consultant and subject of the movie "Catch Me If You
Can": "Every company, both large and small, should study this survey
and use the data as the basis for making changes. Those who ignore it do so at
Most of those surveyed did note that they had installed new
security updates and software following incidents, but advanced techniques,
such as biometrics and smart cards, were used infrequently, the report stated.
As companies are increasingly targeted by attackers, it is
likely that enforcement efforts will grow as well to respond to the problem.
There are several investigations and initiatives underway by
a number of enforcement agencies, said Chris Sonderby, chief of the U.S.
Department of Justice's Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property unit.
"Stealing company resources or trying to break in to a
company's computers are felonies, and they will be treated as such," said
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