Malware Running Rampant On PCs

There has been no let up in internet attacks as malware passes 240 million mark.

Even with the global financial crisis hitting its peak in 2009, there was no let up from cybercrims trying to scam their way into the back end of many PCs, with software security experts Symantec reporting 240 million new malicious programs – a 100 percent increase over 2008.

Highlights of the year include a big jump in attacks on corporations, mainly due to the huge amount of personal information corporations collect. Even more insidious, is that these programs can target specific individuals within a company after information has been gleaned from social networking pages.

Crims are even turning out customised malware programs that are for sale, says Symantec. Take Zeus for example. People can purchase the Zeus toolkit for $700, which automates the process of creating customised malware capable of stealing personal information. Using kits like Zeus, attackers created millions of new malicious code variants in an effort to evade detection by security software.

ACMA Gets Tough On Telcos
Samsung Launches 3D TV Range
Washable Keyboard From HP

Web-based attacks continued to grow as attackers leverage social engineering techniques to lure unsuspecting users to malicious websites. These websites then attack the victim’s Web browser and vulnerable plug-ins normally used to view video or document files.  In particular, 2009 saw dramatic growth in the number of Web-based attacks targeted at PDF viewers.
There was also signs of malicious activity takes root in emerging countries. In the past, Russia and Asia have been the source of emerging software malware and viruses, but now the likes of Brazil, India, Poland and Vietnam are appearing on the cybercrim radar. In 2009, these countries moved up the rankings as a source and target of malicious activity by cybercriminals.

Top threats include:

  • The Sality.AE virus
  • The Brisv Trojan
  • The SillyFDC worm
  • The much publicised Conficker virus has now infected more than 6.5 million PCs worldwide, but experts are still not sure as to what threat it poses.