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10/26/2005
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Summer's Zotob Attack Cost Each Company $100K To Clean Up

Around 13% of the enterprises polled reported that they experienced at least some negative impact from Zotob, which hit in August, a security company says.

The August attack of the Zotob bot worm was milder than other major events, but still cost victims an average of nearly $100,000 to clean up, a security company said Wednesday.

Virginia-based Cybertrust surveyed 700 enterprises on the impact of Zotob, a bot worm that exploited a vulnerability in Windows 2000 during August, 2005. Although Zotob wasn't as widespread as other notable malware, such as Sasser, MSBlast, or Slammer, it raised a ruckus in media companies and briefly slowed overall Internet traffic.

"Sasser had more impact," said Russ Cooper, Cybertrust's senior information security analyst. "Compared to earlier worm outbreaks, Zotob impacted significantly fewer organizations."

About 13 percent of the enterprises polled reported that they experienced at least some negative impact from Zotob, with a bit less than half of that, just 6 percent, classifying the damage as moderate or major, meaning that they suffered more than $10,000 in costs and had one or more business-critical systems affected.

By comparison, 2003's MSBlast rang in with five times the number of organizations in the moderate-to-major category. In 2004, nearly half of the companies surveyed (49 percent) by Cybertrust about Sasser said that they'd been affected to some degree, nearly four times the rate of Zotob.

"This worm and its impact complements Cybertrust’s intelligence that illustrates the goal of hackers today is no longer widespread system shutdown, but rather more frequent, smaller attacks with specific targets powered by a drive for financial and information gain,” said Cooper.

Most security experts have been talking up that trend for some time, but Cybertrust's report is one of the first to put data on the prediction.

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