Viruses targeting applications will increase this year, say network operators.
Of 136 IP network operators surveyed, 35% believe attacks will focus on applications instead of operating systems in 2010. These attacks require less bandwidth compared to large-scale botnet attacks, which only 26% of network operators say will be the biggest threat this year.
The survey, by network security supplier Arbor Networks, revealed an increase in attacks that require bandwidth of 1Gbps or less.
Application targeting is designed to exploit weaknesses in back-end services. Attacks can disrupt Structured Query Language (SQL) server infrastructure and Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure.
Surveys from previous years show that the bandwidth used by attacks increased between 2001 and 2007, peaking at 49Gbps. The average speed of attacks has since slowed, and Arbor says the trend is reversing.
The latest survey found that 19% of companies experienced a highest bandwidth attack of between 1Gbps and 4Gbps in 2009, compared with 30% in 2008.
Jennifer Pigg, vice-president for enabling technologies at analyst firm Yankee Group, said, "Today, the majority of global business networks are entirely reliant on internet availability, stability and integrity."