6 September 2002 Digital attacks hit an all-time high in August 2002, according to the latest monthly intelligence briefing from security company mi2g. Financial services companies were the worst hit, with more than half of all serious attacks in the UK inflicted on organisations in that sector.
The total number of attacks recorded for August was 5,580, and attacks during the first eight months of 2002 totalled 30,839 – a figure comparable to the 2001 total of 31,322. On one day alone, 18 August 2002, there were 1,130 attacks.
Mi2g chairman and chief executive, DK Matai, predicts that the number of attacks in 2003 will reach 45,000, rising to between 70,000 and 75,000 in 2003.
Matai blames the dramatic rise in the number of reported attacks on the increasing sophistication of organised ‘cyber terrorists’ – who he claims now employ “detailed digital surveillance and reconnaissance as well as the gathering of critical intelligence on economic targets within [the] financial services, manufacturing, transport and utilities [industries].”
The increase in digital attacks is likely to soar if the US launches a military offensive in the Middle East, he warns. “It would seem highly likely that the launch of a physical attack on Iraq will see counter-attacks from disgruntled Arab, Islamic fundamentalists and anti-American groups,” he says. The anniversary of 11 September could also prompt further digital attacks in the US.