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90 per cent malware attack rate?

I was intrigued to read that almost nine out of ten US businesses suffered from an attack (if that's the right word -Ed) from a virus, spyware or other online attack during 2004 and 2005.

These are survey figures from the FBI, so they must be right - right?

Er, possibly.

It depends on how you class an attack. Most IT security systems and software in my humble experience raise attack flags in their log files for even the most innocuous of probes, including `are you there?' pings from broadband ISPs.

Where an attack caused damage, however, the FBI says that average damages of $24,000 were caused.

98 per cent of the FBI's 2,066 respondents said they used antivirus software, but 84 per cent said they had suffered a virus attack in the 12-month period covered by the survey.

Three-quarters, meanwhile, said they employed anti-spyware tools, but 80 per cent said they had dealt with a spyware attack.

Myself, I'm very sceptical about the survey results. It sounds to me as though only a simple set of questions were asked of the respondent businesses, with the result that the number of real attacks logged was significantly raised...