Hack attacks on the rise

© 2002 BBC

Tuesday, 3rd September 2002 [Excerpt] - August has been a record breaking month for malicious hackers with 2002 set to become the worst year for digital attacks on record, according to security firm mi2g.

The number of hack attacks in August reached 5,830, it reported.

Digital attacks have been steadily rising. Conservative projections suggest there could be up to 45,000 hack attacks across the globe in 2002.

Infrastructure in danger

"It would seem highly likely that the launch of a physical attack on Iraq will see counter-attacks from disgruntled Arab, Islamic fundamentalist and anti-American groups," he told BBC News Online.

According to mi2g, organised cyber terrorism groups have become increasingly sophisticated in 2002.

It says they have now begun to gather detailed information on economic targets within financial services, manufacturing, transport and utilities.

Employees in these sectors are increasingly being asked security questions about their networks on bulletin boards, said Mr Matai.

He urged firms, especially those in sensitive industries, to look at detailed personnel vetting and to keep a close eye on voice and data communications.

Political tensions

Critical national infrastructure such as power stations, water and sewage treatment plants as well as major communication and transportation hubs could be the next targets.

"Despite laws that have been passed which qualify digital attack as terrorism," said Mr Matai, "we could see the US and its allies supporting the war on terrorism attacked digitally as we head towards 11 September and the weeks building up to the proposed attack on Iraq."

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