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Internet Use Continues to Steadily Grow Despite Increases In Number of Security Threats

  • 09 November, 2005 10:20

<p>VeriSign, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN), the leading provider of intelligent infrastructure services for the Internet and telecommunications networks, today released the latest edition of the VeriSign® Internet Security Intelligence Briefing (ISIB). The latest briefing presents growth trends in Internet usage, e-commerce and security threat activity from April 1, 2005 to September 31, 2005. Additionally, the briefing explores emerging security threats, including hidden risks in Internet Telephony as well as spyware and adware exploits.</p>
<p>Salient points from the new briefing include:</p>
<p>Internet Usage and E-Commerce Continue Surge</p>
<p>Even with increasing levels in the frequency and sophistication of Internet threats, including a near tripling of malicious attacks in the past 12 months, Internet use continues to steadily grow. In Q3 2005 new registrations for .com generic top-level domain (gTLD) increased 33 percent and the .net gTLD grew 24.1 percent, year-over-year. Additional relevant facts on Internet usage include the following:</p>
<p>* Over the past 12 months, the average number of new alerts sent daily by the VeriSign® iDefense® Security Intelligence Services team has increased from 21 to 59, largely due to the rise in malicious code such as viruses, worms, bots and spyware.</p>
<p>* The total number active SSL certificates served by VeriSign worldwide reached new highs, totaling 478,622 in Q3 2005.</p>
<p>* The number VeriSign™ Secured Seals delivered per day reached an all-time high of approximately 23.3 million per day in October 2005.</p>
<p>* In tracking the growth of over 135,000 merchants over the past four quarters, VeriSign observed the number of e-commerce transactions has grown 29 percent, with the total dollar volume increasing by 41 percent.</p>
<p>* On a yearly basis, the average transaction value processed by VeriSign Payment Services increased nine percent from $145 in Q3 2004 to $158 in Q3 2005.</p>
<p>* VeriSign servers facilitated 1.184 trillion DNS queries during Q3 2005, unchanged from the 1.2. trillion look ups in Q2 2005.</p>
<p>Emerging Security Threats - Internet Telephony and Spyware/Adware</p>
<p>The latest report highlights the security implications associated with Internet Telephony services, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). According to VeriSign, data traffic represents the primary Internet Telephony security target. VoIP packets lack clearly recognized signatures, making it difficult for IT administrators to distinguish legitimate VoIP traffic from Trojans that are slipped into the network. To protect against this threat, the briefing recommends IT administrators isolate the VoIP network completely, using entirely separate networks for voice and data traffic, or by connecting through a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Other VoIP vulnerabilities explored in the briefing include VoIP eavesdropping, Premium Rate Fraud and VoIP Spam.</p>
<p>This report also looks at how spyware and adware applications take advantage of old browsers and operating system vulnerabilities. VeriSign found that many of these malicious programs take advantage of the same operating systems vulnerabilities to install themselves on end-user computers. Four exploits are commonly used to install spyware and adware: Exploit-ByteVerify, JS/Exploit-HelpXSite, Exploit-ANIfile and JS/Exploit-MHTRedir.gen. Vendors have released patches to remove all of these vulnerabilities; in some cases, vendors issued these patches years ago. VeriSign recommends prompt installation of security patches to help prevent infections from these programs.</p>
<p>“VeriSign continues to be encouraged by the increase in Internet use and commerce, but sees the significant growth in adware and spyware vulnerabilities as a sign that the IT community and end-users must remain diligent in protecting their systems,” said Judy Lin, executive vice president and general manager, VeriSign Security Services. “In the third quarter of 2005, 65 percent of medium- to high-priority security events tracked by VeriSign were due to network vulnerabilities. Even though patches are readily available for vulnerabilities, many are not taking advantage of them, allowing hackers to exploit the same vulnerability multiple times.”</p>
<p>This report draws on comprehensive data gathered from VeriSign intelligent infrastructure, including DNS services, digital certificates, Managed Security Services (MSS), Payment Services and Fraud Protection Services. (In October 2005, VeriSign announced the sale of its payment gateway assets to PayPal, an eBay company. The sale is expected to close in Q4 2005.) The report also contains a new set of metrics showing the number, severity, and type of Internet software security issues based on data from iDefense, which VeriSign acquired in July 2005.</p>
<p>VeriSign will host a Web seminar to discuss the briefing, hosted by Phillip Hallam-Baker, principal scientist, and Buck Watia, malcode engineer, on November 15 at 11:00 am PST. For more information, and to register for the seminar, please go to: http://verisignevents.webex.com/verisignevents/onstage/g.php?d=277411477</p>
<p>The purpose of this briefing is to help the Internet community and enterprise technology managers gain deeper insight into evolving trends in Internet usage, security and fraud. The complete briefing is available online at: http://www.verisign.com/Resources/Intelligence_and_Control_Services_White_Papers/internet-security-briefing.html</p>
<p>About VeriSign</p>
<p>VeriSign, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRSN) operates intelligent infrastructure services that enable and protect interactions across voice and data networks — anytime, from anywhere on multiple devices. Additional news and information about the company is available at http://www.verisign.com.</p>
<p>For more information, contact:</p>
<p>VeriSign Media Relations: Brendan P. Lewis, brlewis@verisign.com, 650-426-4470</p>
<p>VeriSign Investor Relations: Tom McCallum, tmccallum@verisign.com, 650-426-3744</p>
<p>Statements in this announcement other than historical data and information constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause VeriSign's actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others; the ability of VeriSign to successfully develop and market new services and customer acceptance of any new services, the risk that VeriSign's announced strategic relationships may not result in additional products, services, customers and revenues; increased competition and pricing pressures. More information about potential factors that could affect the company's business and financial results is included in VeriSign's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2004 and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. VeriSign undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this press release.</p>

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