Australia a hot bed of hack activity

Australia is victim to more hack activity than the rest of the world simply because of its "au" country code on the Internet.

Software downloaded from the Internet scans domain names alphabetically so Australia is one of the first off the rank except for Afghanistan and Argentina.

This level of vulnerability scanning when broken down into geographic areas shows a disproportionate amount of activity in Australia, according to a study by security systems provider SecurityFocus.

Even cyber sleuths like Internet Security Systems X-Force director Chris Rouland, who was in Australia last week, found local noise levels "astounding".

"Since arriving in Australia, my computer has had a 100 probes a day; noise levels are extremely high here and a lot of it is coming from Indonesia," he said.

Rouland claims the level of activity in Australia is 50 times higher than it was during a visit in the year 2000 and is at least 10 times higher than noise levels in the US.

Moreover, US systems, he said, are far more secure than those in Australia and have already been hardened against constant hack activity.

"There is a lot of probing going on here which reflects the level of interest I have seen at our seminars in recent weeks," Rouland said.

As part of the ISS seminar series, Rouland is teaching IT security managers in Australia how to hack, claiming it is a critical skill set for those securing local organisations.

Rouland also met with government officials endorsing his support for a dedicated cyber security tsar to oversee Australia's critical infrastructure.

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