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CERT: Look How We've Grown

Need any proof that security issues are getting out of hand? Check the CERT Coordination Center's tally of incident reports through the third quarter of 2001.

The Carnegie Mellon University-based computer security organization has played a leadership role in keeping tabs on computer security incidents and helping organizations respond since 1988.

The group recently released statistics for the activity it has recorded in the first three quarters of 2001 compared against all prior years.

When it comes to incident reports, 42 percent of all incidents recorded since CERT began counting in 1988 occurred in 2001. That's 34,754 incident reports out of 82,465.

The number has been climbing since 1988 when six incident reports came in. Only 1997 saw a drop -- there were 2,134 after 1996 saw 2,573.

Almost everything the group keeps track of is on the increase. It's on track in 2001 to more than double the number of vulnerabilities reported in 2000. CERT security alerts are up, and CERT security notes are way up.

Tellingly, about the only thing that's not skyrocketing is the number of hotline calls the group has received. The number peaked in 1999 at 2,099. Instead, the e-mail floodgates have opened. CERT handled more than 34,000 e-mail messages in 1999. So far this year, the number is 85,334.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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