UN Agency highlights growing digital risk


London, UK - 21 November 2003, 17:00 GMT - Internet security problems "have acquired serious dimensions and spam is now proliferating at an alarming rate" according to the annual eCommerce and Development Report 2003 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The foreword to the report is penned by Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary-General.

The full report can be accessed from the Intelligence citations reference on the mi2g SIPS Digital Attacks Report page.

Digital attacks over the internet were on the rise with the United States hit hardest in 2002 followed by Brazil and Britain, the UNCTAD said in its annual study, quoting data from mi2g, the world leader in digital risk.

UNCTAD said about 25% of all emails in January were junk, rising to 36% in March and it warned they could hit 50% before the end of December, which would cost as much as $20.5 billion in wasted technical resources. The majority of spam victims were in North America, which also generated the most junk mail - about 58.4% - the study said.

Anti-spam legislation

To combat the problem, a growing number of governments are implementing anti-spam legislation, UNCTAD noted. Turning to the problem of cyber attacks, such as the damaging MSBlast worm malware that struck in August, it said they undermined public confidence in the internet, particularly in developing countries.

Citing statistics compiled by mi2g, UNCTAD said that more than 91,000 digital attacks occurred in the first half of this year, up from around 87,500 cases recorded in the whole of 2002. The figure has since crossed 190,000 as of 20th November 2003.

Last year the United States suffered 32,434 digital strikes, while 7,294 cases took place in Brazil and 5,589 in Britain, the report said quoting data from the mi2g Intelligence Unit. However, developing countries were the main victims of attacks against government online systems in 2002, with China the worst hit, recording 187 incidents.

In regard to the origin of the cyber-strikes, 80% came from just 10 countries, with the United States again topping the list, comprising 35.4% of the volume last year, followed by South Korea and China.

In the digital economy, UNCTAD said, law enforcement agencies and regulatory authorities would have to adapt to the new challenges and "ensure the rule of law on the internet." Risks should be clearly identified and governments must co-operate with each other to eradicate the problem, it advised.

The recommendations formed part of a much broader 203-page UNCTAD study on eCommerce.


Full details of the October 2003 report are available as of 1st November 2003 and can be ordered from here. (To view contents sample please click here).

Renowned worldwide for the ATCA Briefings. Subscribe now.
Home - Profile - Values - People - Careers - Partners - Contact Us
D2 Banking - Bespoke Security Architecture - Digital Risk Management - Tools

Intelligence Briefings - Brochures - Case Studies -
SIPS Methodology FAQ (pdf)
Keynote Speeches - Articles - News Feeds - Glossary (pdf)
Terms and Conditions - Privacy Policy