Corporate cyber attacks on the rise.

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According to two new surveys, the threat to corporate computer systems from worms, viruses, and cyber attacks is getting worse, despite stronger corporate defenses. The data show that although corporate America is getting smarter and more aggressive about defending its networks from attacks, criminals are also getting smarter and more aggressive in their attempts to defeat them.

A recent study by security software provider Symantec found the number of "phishing" attacks--when individuals try to fraudulently obtain passwords and sensitive personal information through official-looking email messages--skyrocketed more than 260 percent in the second half of 2004. Virus and worm attacks against Windows-based computers jumped more than 300 percent. The number-one target for these attacks was financial institutions.

A survey of 229 mid-size and large companies conducted in January by network security firm Mazu Networks found that 47 percent had networks that were hit by a self-propagating worm in the...

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