Magazine article Security Management

Protection Progress Report

Magazine article Security Management

Protection Progress Report

Article excerpt

More than one in four companies (28.3 percent) suffered data loss from a computer virus in 1999, according to a new Security Management reader survey. More than 70 percent of the nearly 200 respondents also indicated that they currently use virus detection systems.

At first glance, these numbers--which show roughly one-third suffered a virus attack, while two-thirds had virus protection-might lead to the conclusion that the protection made the difference. But numbers can be misleading.

On closer examination, it appears that more than 90 percent of the respondents who suffered data loss from viruses also said they currently have protection in place. Because the survey asked only about incidents experienced over the prior u-month period (1999) and not about the exact timing of the incidents relative to the installation of protection software, it is unclear whether infections led to the implementation of virus software by the survey respondents or whether the incidents occurred despite the virus defenses, perhaps because the software was not updated often enough. (Future surveys will be needed to shed light on this issue.)

Virus infections were not the only problems plaguing the computers of respondents, though other types of incidents were less common. A smaller, but still significant, number of respondents (15.2 percent) suffered hacking attempts, with 9.9 percent indicating that their companies had experienced at least one system intrusion, and another 6. …

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