Half of companies hit by computer viruses

Nearly half of Dutch companies with access to the Internet experienced system problems caused by computer viruses in 2003. For this reason nine out of ten companies use antivirus software to protects themselves from such attacks. Other ICT security measure were less common.

Viruses and antivirus software

In 2003 45 percent of Dutch companies with access to the Internet suffered losses through virus infections. In the previous year 32 percent of companies were affected by viruses.

The dangers of a virus infection are widely recognised: at the end 2003, 91 percent of companies who use the Internet had installed antivirus software. Only 76 percent of companies who do not provide products or services via the Internet  - the passive users - had installed such software, compared with 95 percent of the companies who do provide on-line servicessuch as a website,

Use of antivirus software by companies with Internet access, 2003

Other security measures

Nearly three-quarters of companies with access to the Internet used a firewall in 2003 to prevent outsiders gaining access to their systems. One third of companies keep an off-site data back-up.

Data communication can be kept confidential by applying encryption techniques. Authentication - where a user has to identify himself by means of a digital signature, a PIN code or other means of identification - can also be used. Both these forms of security are used by about one quarter of companies.

Use of security measures by companies with Internet access, 2003

Large companies take more measures to protect their computer systems than smaller ones. The security measures used also are more often related to how the Internet is used. Companies which do more with the Internet or used more complex applications also make more effort to protect their systems.

Eugène van der Pijll