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Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 05:06 GMT 06:06 UK
Attacked from cyber-space
The BBC's Mark Ward with the "honeypot" computer
Our "honeypot" suffered serious attack every hour
If you've been cancelling those annoying little messages telling you to renew your anti-virus software, you might want to think again.

The average home computer comes under attack from the internet once every twelve minutes.

That's the finding of an experiment by BBC News interactive's Technology team

They set up a "honeypot" computer and connected it to the internet. On its worst night, the PC was attacked 53 times - by worms, spyware and phishing attempts.

This morning on Breakfast:

  • We talked to one of the team who conducted the experiment, Darren Waters. He's the technology editor of BBC News Interactive.

    On one of its worst nights, the PC recorded 11 attacks by a Blaster worm, three attacks from a Slammer worm and one attempt to hijack it completely by subverting the web server built into Microsoft windows.

    Basic Safety: top tips
    Computer security
    Do: install anti-virus software and keep it up to date
    Do: install a personal firewall
    Do: use updates from Microsoft or Apple
    Don't: open suspicious e-mails
    Don't: click on unexpected attachments
    Don't: click on links to banks in e-mails

    The BBC's honeypot computer was equipped with special software which monitored attempts to attack it. The computer also received 36 fake security announcements and adverts.

    On average, it was hit by a potentially crippling bug once every hour during the experiment.

    It's thought there could be around 200,000 malicious computer programmes on the net.

    The vast majority of attacks are directed at home computer users, according to the security software firm Symantec.

    The online honeypot
    Watch our interview again with BBC Technology editor Darren Waters

    BBC Breakfast


    Tracking down hi-tech crime
    08 Oct 06 |  Technology
    Tips to help you stay safe online
    07 Oct 06 |  Technology

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