Cyber Crime And Its Cost On The Rise

Annual FBI survey

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Computer crime continues to climb along with its cost, according to a survey released Sunday.

The seventh annual "Computer Crime and Security Survey" by the FBI and the Computer Security Institute (CSI) surveyed 503 information security professionals in U.S. businesses, government agencies and universities.

Ninety percent of the respondents detected computer security breaches within the last 12 months, compared with 85 percent the year before.

Eighty-four of this year's respondents said they suffered financial losses due to the breaches. Forty-four percent, or 223 respondents, quantified the losses, reporting a total loss of $455 million. That compares with $377 million in total losses reported by 186 respondents in last year's survey.

The most serious losses came from theft of proprietary information and financial fraud, the survey showed. Thirty-four percent reported computer security breaches to law enforcement, compared with only 16 percent in 1996.

Survey respondents reported a wide variety of attacks, CSI said. Eighty-five percent detected computer viruses, 40 percent detected denial-of-service attacks, and 40 percent detected system penetration from outside attackers.

Thirty-eight percent said their Web sites suffered unauthorized access or misuse while 21 percent said they didn't know if there had been such activity.

"Over the seven-year life span of the survey, a sense of the 'facts on the ground' has emerged," said Patrice Rapalus, CSI director, in a prepared statement.

"There is much more illegal and unauthorized activity going on in cyberspace than corporations admit to their clients, stockholders and business partners or report to law enforcement," she said.

CSI is based here.

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