Security companies have observed a huge increase in the number of hacking attempts, most of them carried out with limited effect by 'script kiddies' with little experience.
The number of serious hacking attacks remains stable, according to security experts. Most script kiddies, meanwhile, lack the ability to undertake complex attacks and instead use automated hacking tools.
"The bulk of the stuff we're seeing is kids downloading tools into their dorms and seeing what they do," said Joe Magee, chief security officer of security company Top Layer.
"While they're annoying, script kiddies shouldn't be a serious threat to companies with an effective security policy. They certainly aren't skilled in coding or social engineering, the two most dangerous hacking skills."
Neil Barrett, technical director of Information Risk Mananagment, agreed that the number of individuals posing a real danger to IT systems was low.
"There's certainly been a huge increase in the number of script kiddie attacks," he said.
"However, once you exclude them there's a small cadre of experts who are creating hacking tools and another small group using them for financial gain, with very little crossover between the two," he said.
The Far East, he added, is taking over from Eastern Europe as the hotbed of criminal hackers.
Many recent viruses and hacking tools have come from the Far East, although many former communist states still produce a lot of hacking tools.
A report last week from antivirus vendor Symantec found that corporate servers receive an average of 30 attacks a week.
However, up to 85 per cent of all computer 'attacks' are little more than basic port scans performed by automated tools.
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