Poll: Cyber-Attack Fears High Among Corporate Officers

WASHINGTON - Nearly half of corporate security officers expect terrorists to launch a major strike through computer networks in the next 12 months, a poll released today by CSO Magazine showed, Reuters reports.

Forty-nine percent of 1,009 subscribers to the magazine said they feared a major cyber attack in the coming year by a group like al Qaeda. Respondents were mainly from the United States and Canada.

Respondents to the CSO (Chief Security Officer) survey were almost evenly split on whether the U.S. government and U.S. businesses were better prepared to respond to cyber attacks today than on Sept. 11.

However, 95 percent said technology vendors needed to boost security aspects of their products. A low 7 percent said a group like al Qaeda would never launch a major cyber attack.

President Bush will roll out a blueprint next month calling on people from personal computer users to U.S. rocket scientists to do their share, including installing anti-virus software, White House officials said on Wednesday.

The goal is to prevent such things as "denial-of-service" attacks in which hijacked computing power could be collected and used to attack electricity grids, telecommunications and other critical infrastructure.

"The average American doesn't necessarily recognize that he or she has a responsibility to protect their bit of cyberspace by using anti-virus software, firewalls, et cetera," noted Tiffany Olson, deputy chief of staff of the President's Critical Infrastructure Protection Board.

Bush's new strategy to secure cyberspace includes recommendations to personal computer users and small businesses; big enterprises; and federal, state and local governments, plus industrial groups, Olson said.

The CSO poll was carried out between July 19 and Aug. 1.
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