F-Secure Corporation's Data Security Summary for 2002

Wednesday, 18 December 2002, 1:27 PM EST

n 2002, the data security world was characterized by new types of threats. Virus outbreaks in Linux systems, attacks utilizing open source code, breaks into home computers and increasing activity of Asian virus writers kept data security companies busy. Known viruses today amount to some 80,000.

Computer viruses still pose the greatest single problem, even though the number of worldwide outbreaks was clearly smaller in 2002 than in 2001. F-Secure Corporation classifies viruses on a scale called F-Secure Radar according to their severity. The number of alerts of level one, or the most severe types, was nine in 2001. In 2002, the number was mere two: the Slapper network worm attacking Linux systems and the Bugbear e-mail worm attacking Windows systems. Respectively, level two alerts were given 31 and 26 times. The majority of virus cases seen during the year were caused by old viruses, some of which have been out in the wild for a couple of years now.

Even though the number of outbreaks has been smaller than during the previous year, new viruses are detected more or less at the same rate as before. Every month, hundreds of new viruses are found. The total number of known viruses was some 80,000 at the end of year 2002.

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