Most companies fail virus test

Only 5 per cent of organisations in Australia were adequately protected against Love Bug type virus threats, according to research conducted by Computer Associates (CA).

The Love Bug's ability to propagate from Manila to the White House in less than 24 hours shows that any organisation serious about virus protection needs to update its virus profile each day and 95 per cent of Australian organisations don't do that, says a Computer Associates spokesman commenting on a survey it completed in January 2000 (post-Melissa but pre-LoveBug).

The survey, which is being updated post-LoveBug, found that almost 50 per cent of organisations update their virus profiles less than weekly.

The research also concluded that few managers in small, medium or large organisations had any idea about the cost of virus infections. CA's Antivirus Survey report attributed this lack of knowledge to variation (different attacks incur different costs) and there being no established mechanism for correctly collecting and reporting the cost of a virus attack. The survey is based on 180 responses from individuals at organisations with a total of 182,000 PCs and 7300 servers. During the December 99 to January 2000 period, some 84 per cent of large organisations (more than 1000 screens) and 63 per cent of medium-sized organisations (500 to 800 screens) reported virus infection, the survey found. The viruses encountered were Microsoft macros (44 per cent), other macros ( 6 per cent), other (17 per cent), and don't know (33 per cent).

The spokesman said it's time the virus protection industry achieved a new level of maturity and acted more as security partners providing continuous monitoring of their clients' sites and able to upload new virus profiles as needed at a million miles an hour.

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