[ISN] Computer security: the next big thing?

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Wed May 20 1998 - 17:07:58 PDT

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    Computer security: the next big thing? 
    By Om Malik 
    Hackers, corporate spies, curious teenagers and disgruntled
    employees--these are the new villains for corporate America. They somehow
    manage to find their way into a company's computer system, and create havoc
    either destroying or altering files and snooping around in
    confidential records. (Click here for more on corporate spies.) 
    A 1997 report on computer crime and security conducted by the Computer
    Security Institute (CSI) reveals that 75% of the 563 companies, government
    agencies and universities surveyed reported financial losses because of
    security breaches. According to security software industry sources, in 1997
    cybercriminals caused $5 billion worth of damage. 
    The reason is obvious--more computers than ever are connected to
    networks--internal, external and the Internet--and the number of those
    connections is going to increase sharply, predicts Nicole Schmidt, an
    analyst at CIBC Oppenheimer. 
    With so many machines connected to each other, the chances of break-ins
    will be higher. 
    On the Internet alone, the number of connections will jump to 268 million
    in 2001 from 82 million in 1997, according to San Jose, Calif.-based market
    research firm Dataquest. And Framingham, Mass.-based market research group,
    International Data Corp. (IDC) sees 133 million users connected to
    corporate intranets by the year 2001. 
    With so many machines connected to each other, the chances of break-ins
    will be higher. Not only from outsiders, but from insiders, as well. The
    losses are likely to mount if companies and government organizations do not
    take preventive measures right away, says John Becker, president and chief
    executive officer of Axent Technologies (AXNT), a Rockville, Md.-based
    maker of computer security software. 
    No wonder the spending on computer security software is going to balloon to
    $13 billion in 2001 from $6.3 billion in 1997, estimates research firm
    "We are bullish on the long-term fundamentals of the security software
    industry," says Schmidt. (See "Axent: digital bodyguards.") So far she has
    not been wrong. The CIBC Security Index is up 459% over the past three
    years, versus the S&P 500, which is up a mere 103% during the same period.
    And she predicts that as more and more venture-backed security software
    companies go public, interest in their stocks will increase.
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