Feeds

Security threats soar in 2005

Malchicks beget malware

High performance access to file storage

Nearly 16,000 new viruses, worms and Trojans have appeared in 2005, but criminals are moving their focus to niche targeted groups with specially customised malware to steal data and cash.

The huge increase in the number of malware programs stems from the activities of criminal gangs intent on using trojans, worms and viruses to make a profit, according to a new report from anti-virus software firm Sophos, entitled the Security Threat Management Report 2005.

These gangs have been focusing their efforts on a smaller number of victims, who are targeted with customised malware, so that the creators of the virus can evade the attentions of anti-virus software vendors and security providers.

"Internet criminals may be turning their back on large scale attacks not only because they do not wish to draw attention to their efforts, but also because they cannot practically handle the amount of stolen data they might receive if they infected hundreds of thousands of computers in one day," the report noted.

A report published in November 2005 by Financial Insights, an IDC company, estimated that global financial institutions lost USD400 million in 2004 due to phishing schemes. Phishing is a system whereby scammers send an email, purporting to be from their financial institution, which induces them to reveal their online banking details.

Instead of going for the large financial institutions, cyber criminals are now engaging in what has been dubbed "puddle phishing", where they target a smaller financial institution that may only have a few branches.

Another phishing phenomenon is the "spear phishing" practice, where attackers will target employees in a specific company in an attempt to gain passwords and usernames to access confidential data.

Because these attacks are so targeted, the most dangerous viruses are unlikely to be included among the top-10 most common viruses, which anti-virus vendors issue to raise security awareness among internet users.

While all of the top ten threats are Windows-based worms, the number of Trojan horses written during 2005 outweighs worms by a ratio of two-to-one.

In 2005, the Zafi-D virus has topped the Sophos list as the most prevalent virus on the internet. The most prevalent virus in 2004, Netsky-P, has dropped to second place this year. Sober-Z - which was only unleashed in November 2005 - has already climbed to third place as it continues to disrupt and clog networks worldwide.

The other viruses in the top 10 were Sober-N, Zafi-B, Mytob-BE, Mytob-AS, Netsky-D, Mytob-GH, Mytob-EP.

Copyright © 2005, ENN

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.