Hacking up, disclosure down, FBI survey says

Most large corporations and government agencies have been attacked by computer hackers, but more often and more frequently they do not inform authorities of the breaches, an FBI survey finds.

The survey released Sunday found about 90 percent of respondents detected computer security breaches in the past year but only 34 percent reported those attacks to authorities.

Many respondents cited the fear of bad publicity about computer security.

"There is much more illegal and unauthorized activity going on in cyberspace than corporations admit to their clients, stockholders and business partners or report to law enforcement," said Patrice Rapalus, director of the Computer Security Institute, which conducted the survey with the FBI's San Francisco computer crime squad.

The seventh annual survey polled 503 American corporations, government agencies, financial and medical institutions and universities. The names of the organizations polled were not released.

Overall, there were more computer crimes than in last year's survey. But fewer victims reported crimes to police than in 2001, reversing a trend from earlier surveys.

A former Justice Department computer crimes prosecutor said there is frequently little incentive for a company to report computer attacks or crimes.

"It tends not to help their bottom line, but hurt their bottom line," Mark Rasch said. "What a company wants to do is solve the problem and move on."

When those companies are financial institutions or other parts of the nation's critical technology infrastructure, however, more than the company's bottom line is at stake.

News source: The Nando Times - Technology

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