Skip to comments.Internet Attacks Seen Doubling This Year (Or Why You Should Use A Firewall)
Posted on 10/16/2001 6:39:37 PM PDT by Fighting Irish
The number of Internet attacks reported by companies looks likely to double in 2001, a government-funded security response group reported Monday.
The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) Coordination Center, the group that administers the myriad CERTs around the United States, counted nearly 35,000 attacks and probes in the first nine months of this year.
While the increase in such incidents may indicate more intruders attacking, much of the increase is due to the growth of the Internet, said Larry Rogers, a senior member of the technical staff at the CERT Coordination Center.
"There are more targets and more information that can be gathered out there," he said. "Also, more people are aware of security issues." Those who take security to heart, he said, tend to be more likely to report probes and attacks.
At the current rate, the CERT Coordination Center's tally should top 46,000 by the end of the year, doubling the nearly 22,000 incidents counted last year. Each "incident" corresponds to a report filed by a company or organization struck by an intruder, worm, virus or other Internet attack.
While the Internet has seen a massive rise in the number of attacks due mainly to the successes of several worms, those epidemics have little to do with the increase in incidents, said CERT's Rogers. The CERT Coordination Center's policy is to count each worm or virus only once, no matter how widespread the attacks become.
This summer, SirCam, Code Red and the Nimda worms have propagated widely and caused headaches for system administrators and people online at home.
Instead, the large number of automated scans for vulnerabilities and Web defacements contribute more to the rapid increase.
When the CERT Coordination Center started counting incidents in 1988, the year that Robert T. Morris released his Internet Worm, only a handful of attacks made it on the list.
In 1989, that number hit 132 and approximately doubled for the next five years. Between 1994 and 1998, however, the number of incidents leveled off around 2,500. By 1999, the number of reported attacks and probes hit almost 10,000 and more than doubled the next year.
CERT considers an incident as any group of activities in which the same tool or exploit is used by an intruder. An incident can affect anything from a single computer to numerous host computers at hundreds of thousands of locations.
Rogers surmised that attacks hit a plateau because the Internet still wasn't as widely used as it is today.
"The Internet hadn't quite caught back then as it has now," he said.
The growth in the Web and availability of inexpensive computers has lead to more insecure computers and more curious hackers probing the Internet via sniffer packets, Rogers said.
I use ZoneAlarm and am very happy with it....and there is a free version!!!!
I've got Norton anti-virus and it alerted me to the nimda virus from of all places a site on Japanese cooking knives! I sent them an email and then called them on their 800# to tell them. The nimda virus is very tricky and persistant. I got a second hit just trying to email the infected site. Thank gosh for Norton. I was lucky. Be careful out there.
It works equally well on both. The Pro version has a few more bells and whistles but they both block outside intrusions.
It isn't so much the risk of an actual hacker attempting to gain access but, sniffer packets or sniffer programs that attempt to pull information from your hard drive. It could be something as innocent as a marketing company investigating your internet habits to something more sinister.
With all that's going on in the world these days I suspect EVERYTHING!
Whatever the source... a firewall should now be a household item for all online usage. You have to ask yourself, how important are the files on your hard drive? Your home address? Your email addresses? Personal letters? Information concerning your children? Business information?
It's a simple fix.
I was told by my phone company that cable modem is faster only if you are either the first one off the cental office or if there were not too many modems pulling.
If there is a large number of subscribers in your area then it gets considerably slower. Is that true?
I also recommend installing Guidescope. Guidescope runs as a proxy server on your PC and it blocks all access and cookies from sites that you don't want to track you as you move around the web.
If you're running OS 9.x or lower, no. The way Pre-X MacOS is designed, it's essentially impossible for hackers to access anything (unless you have file sharing turned on; you're not on a local network are you?). Combine that with the fact that hardly any hacker cares about the Mac anyway (why waste the time to try to develop hacks for a platform that less than 10% of the world uses, especially since Windows is so badly written that it's a hacker's wet dream to start with?), and your chances of being successfully penetrated are nearly zero.
Not that it would hurt to get a firewall program anyway, since you never know when someone just might come up with some new way to hack into a Mac. But I wouldn't lose sleep over it.
If you have OSX, your risks are somewhat higher, since OSX is essentially Unix.
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