Vulnerable PC will be attacked in 20 minutes

The average survival time for an unprotected networked computer dropped from 40 minutes to 20 minutes over the last year, according to the SANS Institute of Bethesda, Md.

That means an unprotected PC would be infected by a worm within 20 minutes of being connected to an unprotected network.

'The actual time it will take for a specific computer to be compromised will vary widely depending on any filters applied by the Internet Service Provider and the configuration of the operating system,' the institute said.

Survival time is figured from daily reports submitted to SANS' Internet Storm Center by volunteers in 70 countries. ISC receives more than 1 billion reports of probes each month from organizations that manage more than 500,000 Internet addresses.

Actual probe activity varies over time and according to the level of protection a network provides its users. For instance, users with ISPs that block ports commonly used by worms will have longer survival times.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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