Australia Ranks Sixth For Web-Based Attacks

A new report out shows that Internet malware attacks are on the increase, with Australia getting its fair share of unwanted attention

Symamtec’s latest Internet security report states that malicious code activity continued to grow at a record pace throughout 2008, primarily targeting confidential information of computer users, with Australia rating sixth on the list of web-based attacks in Asia-Pacific/Japan region.

The company created more than 1.6 million new malicious code signatures in 2008, which equates to more than 60 percent of the total malicious code signatures ever created by Symantec — a response to the rapidly increasing volume and proliferation of new malicious code threats. 

These signatures helped Symantec block an average of more than 245 million attempted malicious code attacks across the globe each month during 2008.

The Internet Security Threat Report is derived from data collected by millions of Internet sensors, first-hand research, and active monitoring of hacker communications, and provides a global view of the state of Internet security. The study period for the ISTR XIV covers January 2008 to December 2008.

In 2008 Australia was listed as the sixth country for malicious activity in APJ with 5% of the overall proportion. China was the top country for malicious activity in APJ with 41% of the overall proportion

• In 2008, China was the top country hosting Web-based attacks in APJ with 79% in 2008. Australia was listed as the sixth country for Web-based attacks in APJ with 2% of the overall proportion. Australia ranked 27th globally.

• Over the past year, Symantec observed a 192 percent increase in spam detected across the Internet as a whole, from 119.6 billion messages in 2007 to 349.6 billion in 2008.

The report noted that Web surfing remained the primary source of new infections in 2008, and that attackers are relying more and more on customised malicious code tool kits to develop and distribute their threats.   Furthermore, 90 percent of all threats detected by Symantec during the study period attempt to steal confidential information.  Threats with a keystroke-logging capability—which can be used to steal information such as online bank account credentials—made up 76 percent of threats to confidential information, up from 72 percent in 2007.

The report found that phishing continued to grow. In 2008, Symantec detected 55,389 phishing website hosts, an increase of 66 percent over 2007, when Symantec detected 33,428 phishing hosts. Financial services accounted for 76 percent of phishing lures in 2008 compared to 52 percent in 2007.