Can email viruses and worms become any more annoying? Business people across Europe think they can and will.
A survey of 125 European businesses by software security group MessageLabs revealed that 69% of bosses harboured concerns that viruses will become much more aggressive in the future. They also believe that the volume of email-borne worms will more than double.
By contrast, just 15% of respondents thought the problem would either decrease or disappear over the next 10 years.
Instances of new viruses are growing seemingly everyday and malicious code writers are becoming more sophisticated in their techniques, forcing security developers to adapt constantly.
"It's perhaps not surprising that firms think both volume and destructiveness will increase," said MessageLabs chief technology officer Mark Sunner. "Our own customer data has shown a rapid rise in numbers over the past few years - the ratio of viruses to email last month was 1 in 10.7, while this time last year it was 1 in 125.5 and back in 2002 the ratio overall was just 1 in 212.
"Added to this is the fact that many viruses now carry much more sophisticated payloads: the increased convergence of virus and spam writing techniques over the past year has led to a much more complex threat."
The survey showed that 41% of bosses thought virus payloads would be more destructive in 10 year's time, with 37% fearing they will be "much more destructive". Meanwhile, an optimistic 4% thought viruses would lose their potency.
Such are fears about the problem that 14% of respondents expected viruses to be their main security concern by 2014.
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