New York (Dec. 5, 2003) -- Despite a track record of vulnerability to information technology security breakdowns, fast-growth small and midsized businesses aren't increasing their IT security spending, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The Big Four firm's survey of chief executives at 402 companies with annual revenues ranging from $5 million to $150 million found that 46 percent of the companies suffered compromises in their IT security over the past year, but only 15 percent plan IT budget increases, and among those "relatively few" identified security as a priority.

The survey was part of PwC's most recent "Trendsetter Barometer" report on fast-growth companies.

While many of the companies took several anti-terrorism security measures after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, IT hasn't been the focal point.

"As corporate technology becomes increasingly advanced, security becomes all the more critical, but it would appear that many of the surveyed CEOs have only scratched the surface," said Mark Lobel, PwC's senior manager of security and privacy services.

Computer viruses or worms hit 90 percent of the affected companies. Other breaches, according to PwC, included unauthorized entry to systems, denial of service caused by outside forces, manipulated programs, and intrusion on mobile/ wireless systems. While hackers were the culprits identified most often, employees are suspected in 7 percent of the cases, former employees are suspected in 3 percent, and competitors in 2 percent.

-- WebCPA staff

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