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Category: Rants Published on Wednesday, 18 March 2009

New threat report from Symantec reveals increased criminal activity on the 'Net

Michael L. Berman's Blog
www.scrippsnews.com
March 20, 2007

Every six months Symantec issues its Internet Security Threat Report and, unfortunately, there were very few breaks in the clouds with the release of the latest volume.

Covering the period from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2006, the 11th edition of the report reveals that the nasty scourges of the Internet have become more organized and some may be working together combining phishing, SPAM, bot networks, Trojans and so-called zero-day threats. Plus, instead of focusing on enticing you to open virus-laden files linked to fraudulent emails, they're targeting third-party applications, such as Web browsers.

So, what does that mean to us?

According to a summary of the threat report, these alliances have "resulted in an increasing interoperability between diverse threats and methods. For example, targeted malicious code may take advantage of Web enabled technologies and third-party applications to install a back door, which then downloads and installs bot software. These bots can, in turn, be used to distribute spam, host phishing sites or launch attacks in order to create a single coordinated network of malicious activity."

Because of this, Symantec sees an increasing change in Internet attacks toward criminal activities motivated by profit.

And where does all this nasty stuff originate? What country tops the list? If your first guess was the United States, you'd be 100 percent correct. The U.S. is responsible for 31 percent of the worldwide total, with China coming in second at 10 percent and Germany third with seven percent.

In turn, Israel had the highest level of malicious activity per Internet user with nine percent, followed by Taiwan with eight percent and Poland with six percent.

So, what's an average human to do? Go back to pen and ink? Live in a cave? That may seem attractive, but it's not the answer.

Make sure your PC or moble device is safe and secure by installing the latest and greatest Internet security software and keep it up to date. Also, continue to monitor and download any "fixes" Microsoft makes available when they discover holes in their operating systems or Internet Explorer.

Obviously, I've only touched upon a couple of the myriad issues outlined in the report, which goes on for 125 pages of bad news. Check out www.symantec.com for more information or check out the link to a summary of the report on our home page.

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