Report highlights threats to confidential information

An internet security threat report indicates that the Middle East is no longer the leading source of threats per internet capita.

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By  Sarah Gain Published  March 21, 2005

The global leader in information security, Symantec, has released its latest Internet Security Threat Report. The seventh bi-annual report provides analysis and discussion of trends in internet attacks, vulnerabilities, malicious code activity, and additional security risks for the period of July to December 2004. Attackers are launching increasingly sophisticated attacks in an effort to compromise the integrity of corporate and personal information. According to Arthur Wong, vice president of Symantec Security Response and Managed Services, “By offering not only an unparalleled view of current internet threat activity but also critical insights regarding future trends, Symantec’s internet Security Threat Report serves as an invaluable tool for enabling businesses and individuals to safeguard the security and availability of their information assets no matter what.” Additionally, the report shows that the Asia Pacific and Japan (APAC) region is now the leading source of internet threats per capita. In the last report, issued in September 2004, the Middle East was the global leader in this category. The number of threats per capita in this region increased by 1.04 as opposed to the past report which saw an increase of 1.63. In contrast, APAC has leaped by 1.769 during the last reporting capita. “We have seen a massive increase in the awareness and education around information security issues across the Middle East in the past six months,” says Kevin Isaac, regional director for Symantec in the Middle East and Africa. “What [the figures] show us is that although we are no longer the leading region as a source of threats, we still have work to do around awareness and education, to ensure that we start to see a decreasing number of threats appearing from the Middle East.” Over the past six months, Symantec Middle East has signed a strategic alliance with eCompany, bringing world-class spam solutions in at the ISP level with their adoption of Symantec Brightmail technologies, as well as delivering anti-virus and firewalls to home users. Isaac says, “This partnership has brought unrivalled access to vendor agnostic specialists who are contracted to deliver world-class security advice in the region.” The key findings of the Symantec report indicate five main areas of concern for organisations, including a rise in threats to confidential information, a steady increase in phishing attacks and attacks against web applications. A growth in the number of Windows virus and worm variants and an increase in severe, easy to exploit and remotely exploitable vulnerabilities were also described.

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