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Cybercrime on the increase

Cybercrime on the increase

Cybercrime is on the increase, with financial losses at US companies more than doubling to $266 million last year, according to the FBI.

According to the survey 7 out of 10 US corporations, banks and government agencies suffered “serious” breaches of computer security last year, while 74 per cent acknowledged financial losses.

Only 42 per cent of respondents to the survey quantified their losses, however these organizations reported that total losses were more than double the losses for the previous three years.

Sabotage of computer networks emerged as one of the fastest growing problems, while theft of proprietary information and financial fraud still remain as the two of the biggest areas of cybercrime.

While computer crime came from both inside and outside, internet connections were the most frequent point of attack.

25% of respondents said their systems had been penetrated via the internet. Figures for this year look set to be higher.

The threat of computer crime reached new prominence when several well- known internet sites including Yahoo!, eBay, and Amazon.com were hit with a denial of service type attack. It is estimated that this disruption cost $1.2 billion USD.

The potential for large losses is rising. The industry fear is that the next attack will be on e-commerce. However, their memory is very short. Several months ago a Russian hacker gained access to the e-commerce site of a music store and tried to blackmail the store in to paying him, or he would distribute all of the credit card number to the Russian Mob for use. Business to business systems are vulnerable. But so are cash registers and bank tellers.

Cracking, or computer crime, has been evolving from amateurs, who are challenged by the systems, to professional criminals. A longer term concern is the potential for cyber-terrorism. Such as what was tried on NATO and the UN during the bombing of Yugoslavia.

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