Not yet mid-way through the year, 2003 has already set the record for digital attacks, and those attacks are becoming more dangerous, says digital security firm mi2g. As of May 25, 87,903 overt digital attacks were verified worldwide, while the previous annual record, set in 2002, was 87,525. A release from mi2g notes the attacks are targeting personal information including credit card numbers. In the month of May, about 2% of attacks were aimed at very large, publicly-traded companies. Identity theft is emerging as a rampant issue as web sites often now lead to databases that contain personal information on millions of customers. mi2g predicts there could be more than 220,000 overt attacks by the end of the year. “Online commercial interests of the U.S. and U.K. are coming under escalating waves of attacks worldwide especially since October last year,” says mi2g chairman D.K. Matai. “Some of this is linked to the war with Iraq and war on terrorism, some to criminal syndicate activity, and the rest is down to ‘attacks for fun’.” In May, about one-quarter of attacks were linked to political “hacktivists” protesting the invasion of Iraq, Middle East policies and the war on terrorism.