e-minister Douglas Alexander yesterday called for UK businesses to take security more seriously following an increase in politically fuelled hacking activity, sparked off by the terrorist attacks in the US.
Alexander's call to arms was supported by the security industry which expressed concern at the potential damage that could be caused by unpatched servers.
As demonstrated by the effects of the Code Red and Nimda outbreaks, there are still a vast number of administrators out there failing to act on advisories as a priority.
According to Aled Miles, vice president of Symantec, every company has a responsibility to prevent exploitation of their security weaknesses.
"Vulnerable networks could be used to launch distributed denial of service attacks, propagate worms, or steal or erase potentially sensitive data," he said.
In light of attacks on US world trade portals and pro Taleban websites, Miles warned that hackers are believed to have already destroyed data and internet connections within Afghanistan and Palestine.
"Would we be prepared if the tables are turned on us?" he said.
"During times of uncertainty we must look to all our defences and maintain a constant vigilance against those willing to use any means to disrupt UK business.
"We fully support the minister in his address, and would urge companies to use the ISO 17799 as a tool to protect themselves and the internet," he added.
In the US, National Infrastructure Protection Centre (NIPC) director Ronald Dick recently made a similar address, warning that the world is "increasingly at risk if we choose to do nothing in the face of our growing infrastructure vulnerabilities."
"An increasingly large number of our systems are vulnerable and interdependent. The capabilities to exploit many of these weaknesses are commonly understood and inexpensive. And, there is no shortage of people intent on taking advantage of these flaws," he said.
"Sometimes they are motivated by political ideology. Sometimes by profit. Sometimes by a desire merely to show off. And sometimes they are motivated by pure hatred."
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