Computer experts say 'script kiddies' a relic

Tuesday, 20 August 2002, 4:54 PM EST

It has been 18 months since the Anna Kournikova virus, considered by many experts to be the last major computer virus authored by a precocious code writer, inflicted widespread damage on the corporate world. Script kiddies may be past their prime.

"They're just not the threat they once were," said Mark Toshack, a virus analyst for British security firm MessageLabs.

Computer worms and viruses are still a hazard for computer users, as last year's Code Red and this year's Klez worms showed. But advances to anti-virus software and a more vigilant public have largely defeated the best the young virus writers can throw at the computing community.

And now, after a period of relative calm, security specialists are starting to exult in their apparent triumph.

"Attacks from this group are declining," said Raimund Genes, European president of virus-detection specialist Trend Micro. "Two years ago, we thought this would be a big problem spot, but today it is not."

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