Easy exploitation

Virus activity isn’t up much, but now they’re targeting desktops rather than servers

The number of viruses and worms launched via the Internet may be reaching a plateau, but the damage they inflict on enterprise systems is becoming more easily executed, leaving companies feeling even more vulnerable

about how exposed they are to security flaws.

Anti-virus software company Symantec Corp. says there were 2,636 vulnerabilities disclosed in 2003, up only two per cent over 2002. But about 70 per cent of those disclosed were easily exploited — no exploit code was required, or the code was publicly available on the Internet.

Symantec releases a security report every six months. This report is the first to show a trend to targeting client computers rather than servers. Client-side threats are more widespread, have greater reach and affect more systems more quickly, says Symantec Canada GM Michael Murphy.

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