Of 1,000 UK businesses that participated in the Information Security Breaches 2002 survey, 42% of those with e-mail had suffered computer virus attacks as a result of e-mail attachments. This represents a massive increase from the 16% of attacks in the 2000 survey.
The survey blamed the increase on the emergence of sophisticated viruses that combine worm, virus and Trojan horse techniques with hacking. The report stated that the 2001 Code Red and Sircam viruses were as significant as the Love Letter virus in 2000 and Melissa in 1999, in that they evolved worm attacks to a new level. It also found that while the majority of businesses used anti-virus software, fewer had good firewalls and intrusion detection systems.
The report warns users that it is no longer good enough to just use anti-virus protection and recognises the importance of frequent "patch" updates.