Friday, February 09, 2007

Hackers Attack Every 39 Seconds

Hackers attack computers every 39 seconds, according to new research.

The study, which investigated how exactly hackers crack computers, confirms those regularly issued warnings about password vulnerability. Experts advise longer passwords, regularly changed and not based on users' biographies, that mix letters and numerals and are hard to guess.

“Our data provide quantifiable evidence that attacks are happening all the time to computers with Internet connections,” study author Michel Cukier of the University of Maryland said. “The computers in our study were attacked, on average, 2,244 times a day.”

Today, hackers briefly overwhelmed at least DNS servers that help manage global computer traffic.

To test how hackers break into computers, Cukier’s team set up weak security on four Linux computers connected to the Internet and monitored hacker attacks.

Unlike the sophisticated hackers portrayed on TV and in films, these hackers weren’t targeting specific computers.

“Most of these attacks employ automated scripts that indiscriminately seek out thousands of computers at a time, looking for vulnerabilities,” Cukier said.