More attacks coming from Aust: report

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Australia is moving up the rankings in terms of how many attacks originate from this country, according to an internet threat report.

Australia is moving up the rankings in terms of how many attacks originate from this country, according to an internet threat report.

The Internet Security Threat Report from security company Symantec found that Australia now ranked number five, in terms of top originating countries for attacks, excluding worms.

John Donovan, managing director for the Pacific region at Symantec, said that this was an increase from Australia's position as number 14 in the previous six-monthly report.

According to the report, attackers frequently “hop through numerous systems, or use previously compromised systems to hide their location prior to launching the actual attack.”

The US continued to hold the number one position, as the most common source of attack activity, for the two previous six-month periods.

However, the report also warned that country of origin might not necessarily reflect the attacker's actual location.

In addition, Symantec's research found that blended threats made up 54 percent of the top 10 malicious code submissions over the last six months of 2003. “These threats have caused widespread damage more quickly than ever before due to increased propagation speed, aided in part by improved bandwidth and decreased latency,” according to a statement about the report.

The report also found that half of the companies surveyed in the second half of last year reported a serious security breach, compared with one-sixth of companies during the previous six-month period. “This rise is largely the result of increasingly 'successful' worms, which remain the most common source of attack activity,” it stated. “Moreover, almost one-third of all attacking systems targeted the vulnerability exploited by the Blaster worm.”

Donovan also warned that he didn't envisage any let-up in the threats over the next six months. “What we're seeing is the reduction between the amount of time between the discovery and vulnerability,” he said. “[The trend is moving] towards a zero day threat -- when someone discovers a vulnerability and exploits that vulnerability before a patch is made available.”

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