Worldwide Attacks Down, U.S. Up

Digital attacks have declined 8 percent worldwide during November 2002, but there has been a 13 percent increase in penetrations on the U.S. Internet infrastructure, according to research from mi2g.

“The main reasons behind the escalating attacks on U.S. targets have been the rising penetration of 24/7 Internet connectivity within the American business, government and domestic environment coupled with criminal opportunism and some antagonism towards US foreign policy,” said DK Matai, chairman and CEO of mi2g.

The most attacked countries in November were: the U.S. (6,642); Brazil (1,365); the U.K. (679); Canada (651); and Slovenia (514). Yearly totals thus far: the U.S. with 26,792 overt digital attacks; Brazil at 5,568; U.K. at 4,950; Germany at 4,621; and Italy at 2,652.

“In 2002, we have seen major hacker groups coalesce to harm and profit from Western commercial targets motivated by pro-Islamic and anti-capitalist agendas as well as criminal activity such as identity theft, credit card fraud, software and data piracy,” said Matai.

Attacks on the U.K decreased by 70 percent from 2,253 in October to 679 in November, largely due to efforts by British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) and the National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC). The organizations teamed to alert enterprises to the escalating threat from hacker attacks early in November.

Successful overt digital attacks — as opposed to attempts, scans or covert attacks — on government systems worldwide rose slightly from 143 to 153 in November, with Australia (32) as the most attacked government system, followed by the U.S. (25), China (13), Taiwan (12) and El Salvador (10).

mi2g theorizes that the small increase in worldwide governmental attacks could show that hackers are gravitating toward more easily penetrable targets, such as small to medium sized enterprises that may not have the budgets to protect themselves adequately.

Meanwhile, Central Command warns against the easy transmission of computer viruses, suggesting that Internet users exercise caution with the e-mail they receive during this time of year.

“During the winter months, we typically see an increase in the number of new virus submissions. Users should exercise extra caution and anticipate the usual holiday-themed viruses; viruses disguised as festive electronic greeting cards, screensavers and desktop wallpaper,” said Steven Sundermeier, product manager at Central Command, Inc.

Central Command puts the Worm/Klez.E virus at the top of November 2002’s “Dirty Dozen” list of confirmed occurrences — up 11.8 percent from October 2002 — and a new bug, Worm/Bride.A, debuts at number five.

Worm/Bride.A, an Internet worm that drops the file infector W32/Funlove is also partially accountable for the high number of W32/Funlove infection reports for the month. Worm/Bride.A arrives with the attachment README.EXE and has already spawned a number of variants.

November 2002 Dirty Dozen:

  1. Worm/Klez.E (incl. G variant), 35.2 percent
  2. W32/Yaha.E, 16.2 percent
  3. Worm/BugBear, 10.4 percent
  4. W32/Elkern.C, 7.5 percent
  5. Worm/Bride.A, 4.4 percent
  6. W32/Funlove, 4.1 percent
  7. Worm/W32.Sircam, 3.4 percent
  8. W32/Nimda, 1.8 percent
  9. W32/Magistr.B, 1.0 percent
  10. W95/Hybris, 0.6 percent
  11. W95/CIH, 0.5 percent
  12. Worm/Opasoft.A, 0.5 percent

Others, 14.4 percent

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