[ISN] Online Security Incidents Jump in 2002

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Fri Jul 19 2002 - 09:02:34 PDT

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    Sam Costello, IDG News Service
    Thursday, July 18, 2002
    Internet security incidents for the first half of 2002 are up sharply
    over 2001 and are on pace to substantially exceed last year's figures,
    according to new statistics released Thursday by the Computer
    Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (CERT/CC).
    This increase, however, may be due to better reporting and awareness,
    and not due to substantially increased attack activity, according to a
    CERT/CC representative.
    The CERT/CC is a federally-funded computer and network security
    research organization that tracks security incidents and software
    vulnerabilities and is based at Carnegie Mellon University in
    Pittsburgh. CERT/CC coordinates the disclosure and response to some
    security vulnerabilities, attempting to ensure that vendors have fixes
    or patches for vulnerabilities ready before those flaws are disclosed
    to the public.
    Steady Increase
    For the first half of 2002, CERT/CC reported that it logged 43,136
    security incidents. The group defines a security incident as any
    related set of security events. 2001 saw 52,658 security incidents for
    the entire year.
    Security incidents have been steadily increasing since 1988, when
    CERT/CC first started tracking them. Their number exploded in 1999,
    which had nearly 10,000 incidents, as opposed to nearly 4000 in 1998.  
    There were 21,756 security incidents in 2000.
    Also up in the first half of 2002 are security vulnerabilities, holes
    in software that could lead to attack, CERT/CC reported. So far this
    year, 2148 such vulnerabilities have been disclosed, almost equaling
    the 2437 announced in all of 2001. There were 1090 vulnerabilities
    reported by CERT/CC in 2000.
    Awareness Credited The numbers are up for a variety of reasons, but
    one of the biggest reasons is that CERT/CC has more people reporting
    incidents to it, and more users have a better awareness of what
    constitutes a security incident, said Chad Dougherty, Internet
    security analyst at CERT/CC.
    The vulnerability numbers are up, he said, because more people are
    searching for flaws than in the past.
    The growth of Internet use also plays into the increase, he said.  
    Despite the increases in users reporting to CERT/CC, the group still
    isn't getting all the available information, Dougherty said.
    "It's always been our position that the amount of incident activity
    reported to us was only a small indication of what was going on, on
    the Internet," he said. "We are still only getting a portion of the
    total amount of security incidents."
    Nonetheless, users still need to take security seriously, he said.
    "It's still a serious problem, and people still need to be aware of
    the issues involved with connecting a system to the Internet," he
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