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One in 10 corporate databases connected to the Internet had a breach of security last year.

That's the main finding from a survey of 750 US database developers which also reveals growing concern about security issues.

Opening up databases to the Internet has become a top priority for big business, but this is accompanied by greater exposure to malicious viruses and unauthorised hackers.

More than two-thirds of the respondents to the survey conducted by market research firm Evans Data Corporation say that their most important development task over the coming year is the ability to provide dynamic Web access to their databases. Among other trends identified are increased use of Windows 2000 as a development platform (42 per cent use it compared to 21 per cent a year ago).

There's also greater development of mobile database applications (44 per cent up from 36 per cent last year), which in itself justifies heightened security concern. Mobile networks open up new avenues of attack for attackers, as evidenced by well-publicised flaws in the security of wireless LANs and WAP Gateways.

While most developers surveyed have beefed up the security of their network infrastructures, much fewer
take advantage of built-in database security features.

"Many people are focused on the security of their networks and operating systems. However, little attention is given to actual database security," said Joe McKendrick, an analyst at Evans Data. "The results of this survey illustrate the importance of security in the database as well as the surrounding network."

The survey reveals wide variations in security incidents by industry. More than one in four developers in financial services reported incidences of unauthorised access and data corruption to their information. Eighteen per cent of respondents in the healthcare and telecommunications industries reported breaches. ®

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