Study Reveals Increase in Cyber Espionage – Including Threefold Increase in SMB Attacks

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In addition, 61 percent of malicious websites are actually legitimate websites that have been compromised and infected with malicious code. Business, technology and shopping websites were among the top five types of websites hosting infections. Symantec attributes this to unpatched vulnerabilities on legitimate websites. In years passed, these websites were often targeted to sell fake antivirus to unsuspecting consumers. However, ransomware, a particularly vicious attack method, is now emerging as the malware of choice because of its high profitability for attackers. In this scenario, attackers use poisoned websites to infect unsuspecting users and lock their machines, demanding a ransom in order to regain access. Another growing source of infections on websites is malvertisements — this is when criminals buy advertising space on legitimate websites and use it to hide their attack code.

Symantec Corp.’s (Nasdaq: SYMC) Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 18 (ISTR) recently revealed a 42 percent surge during 2012 in targeted attacks compared to the prior year. Designed to steal intellectual property, these targeted cyber espionage attacks are increasingly hitting the manufacturing sector as well as small businesses, which are the target of 31 percent of these attacks. Small businesses are attractive targets themselves and a way in to ultimately reach larger companies via “watering hole” techniques. In addition, consumers remain vulnerable to ransomware and mobile threats, particularly on the Android platform.

“This year’s ISTR shows that cyber criminals aren’t slowing down, and they continue to devise new ways to steal information from organizations of all sizes,” said Stephen Trilling, chief technology officer, Symantec. “The sophistication of attacks coupled with today’s IT complexities, such as virtualization, mobility and cloud, require organizations to remain proactive and use ‘defense in depth’ security measures to stay ahead of attacks.”


Related Topics : Unisys, Stimulus Package, Security Breaches, Symantec, Electronic Surveillance

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