Virus attacks increase in severity

Monday, 22 December 2003, 11:50 AM EST

While the number of virus attacks decreased in the last year, the scale and the impact they have had on the Internet have increased significantly, says security software developer, Kaspersky Labs.

To date in 2003, there have been nine major virus outbreaks and 26 less significant ones, which is lower than 2002's figure of 12 major outbreaks and 34 minor incidents.

There were two global outbreaks in 2003, which were the biggest in the history of the Internet. Kaspersky says the importance of the two outbreaks lies in the fact that they were not caused by classic e-mail worms, but by worms modified for the Internet, which spread as network data packets.

In the first outbreak in January, the Internet worm Slammer (Helkern), which exploited a vulnerability in the Microsoft SQL Server in order to replicate, infected millions of computers throughout the world and increased network traffic by between 40% and 80%.

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