[ISN] Computer security threat on rise, survey says

From: mea culpa (jerichoat_private)
Date: Wed Mar 10 1999 - 22:44:25 PST

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    Computer security threat on rise, survey says
    March 5, 1999
    Web posted at: 10:49 a.m. EST (1549 GMT)
    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -- Forget the stereotype of the teen hacker. 
    Sophisticated cyber crooks caused well over $100 million in losses last
    year, and the trend toward professional computer crime is on the rise. 
    In its fourth annual survey, the San Francisco-based Computer Security
    Institute reported Friday that corporations, banks, and government
    agencies all face a growing threat from computer crime -- committed both
    inside and outside their organizations. 
    "It is clear that computer crime and other information security breaches
    pose a growing threat to U.S. economic competitiveness and the rule of law
    in cyberspace," the survey said, summarizing its findings. "It is also
    clear that the financial cost is tangible and alarming." 
    The survey, conducted jointly by the CSI and the FBI's San Francisco
    Computer Crime Squad, polled more than 500 information security
    Almost one-third of the respondents reported that outsiders had penetrated
    their computer systems in the past year, most frequently through an
    Internet connection. 
    While about half of the respondents acknowledged that the computer
    break-ins resulted in financial losses, 163 organizations, or a third of
    those polled, could say how much money had been lost -- $123 million for
    them alone. 
    The most serious losses occurred through the theft of proprietary
    information and financial fraud, the survey said, although it added that
    other computer crimes ranged from data sabotage to laptop theft. 
    CSI director Patrice Rapalus said indications of rising levels of computer
    crime belied the popular notion of computer hackers as bored teenagers
    looking for a little excitement. 
    "It's not simply teenagers coming in and spray painting a web page,"
    Rapalus said. "It's not just the stereotypical hacker. People are seeing
    financial losses due to various different kinds of attacks." 
    In an encouraging note, the CSI study found a "dramatic increase" in the
    number of computer security breaches which had been officially reported to
    law enforcement -- a sign that the problem was being taken seriously. 
    "They are more aware of the problem," Rapalus said. "A lot of people are
    finding out that they need to report in order to avoid liabilities." 
    Michael Vatis, director of the National Infrastructure Protection Center
    at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., said the CSI/FBI study
    illustrated the need for more coordinated efforts to fight cyber crime. 
    "Only by sharing information about incidents and threats and exploited
    vulnerabilities can we begin to stem the rising tide of illegal activity
    on networks and protect our nation's critical infrastructure from
    destructive cyber attacks," he said in a news release. 
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