IBM: Worm attacks are surging

IBM Corp. has reported a recent surge in network attacks against critical infrastructures of government agencies, telecommunications carriers and utilities.

The company's Global Business Security Index, based on data from a half-million monitored devices, counted 997 Internet attacks in September, 27 percent more than in July and August.

'Hackers are able to reverse-engineer newly published security patches and attack an un- patched system in 48 hours,' said Stuart McIrvine, recently named IBM's director of security strategy.

McIrvine said the company has been 'running this awhile' and is confident of the threat index information. The government risk breakdown is proprietary information. IBM monitors government agencies' networks in 34 countries.

The current index, color-coded like the Homeland Security Department's threat levels, called the Sasser and Korgo worms the most common means of attack against the Microsoft Windows operating system's LSASS buffer overrun vulnerability. Other targets, IBM said, were Microsoft Internet Information Server, Apache HTTP Server and Netscape iPlanet Server.

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