The number of Internet security incidents reported by businesses in Asia in August rose 43 per cent over the figure in July, according to Singapore-based security company Pte. Ltd.

The company has developed a measurement called the e-Security Index, designed to act as a barometer of security events such as viruses, worms and vulnerabilities plus security incidents experienced by businesses throughout the region.

In August, this index reached 1,776 compared to July’s figure of 1,242, which was itself a 24-month high figure. The number of attacks is now almost double the level recorded in March, the company said.

E-Cop’s four centres in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan all reported a sharp increase in security incidents in August, with incidents in Malaysia more than doubling, the company said.

“Worms, viruses, Web and hybrid attacks skyrocketed in August 2003 to unprecedented levels,” the company said in its monthly security report. “At least 16 viruses/worms and vulnerabilities were either discovered or highlighted in August alone.”

The most common form of incident is information-gathering attacks probing Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) services, which accounted for 31 per cent of incidents. This was followed by probes into Web service vulnerabilities (28 per cent) and probes into the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) 135 port, e-Cop said. The Slammer worm only accounted for 4 per cent of incidents.

The most common source for the attacks was the U.S. (32 per cent) followed by Korea (22 per cent), Malaysia (10 per cent) and India (10 per cent), e-Cop said.