IT Security & Network Security News & Reviews: Data Breaches, Hacker Turf Wars, Major Security Threats of 2011 First Half

 
 
By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-07-25
 
 
 

Biggest Threats: Unpatched Software

Malware targeting Microsoft, Adobe and Java applications continued to be the biggest threats. Cyber-attackers weren't going after 0-days, as it was easier and just as lucrative to target unpatched programs using known (and fixed) vulnerabilities.

Biggest Threats: Unpatched Software

Facebook Attacks on the Rise

Grandparents aren't the only ones on Facebook. The criminals are, too. The number of Facebook-based scams soared and continue to be a serious threat, tricking users to click on titillating videos or applications. Facebook wasn't the only social networking site under attack; LinkedIn spam also increased.

Facebook Attacks on the Rise

Malicious Email on the Rise

Attackers are increasingly sending emails in combined attacks, such as spear phishing with HTML or PDF attachments that exploit unpatched software. Other types of malicious spam rely on good old social engineering to get users to hand over sensitive data.

Malicious Email on the Rise

Rare Good News: Less Spam

The efforts of Microsoft, the Justice Department and other security companies to shut down Rustock and Coreflood seem to be paying off, as global spam volumes seem to be down. While the amount of malicious spam hasn't changed, the overall spam volume is much less than it used to be.

Rare Good News: Less Spam

Continued Use of Attack Kits

While Zeus may be one of the most well-known attack kits, it's not the most commonly used. That distinction goes to Neosploit, which dominated in the first half of 2011, followed by Phoenix and Blackhole.

Continued Use of Attack Kits

Fake AV Becomes More Common

Attackers increasingly monetized their scams using fake antivirus software. Users were tricked into downloading malware, usually fake antivirus software, which couldn't be removed until they handed over their credit card details.

Fake AV Becomes More Common

Criminals Use Antivirus, Too

Underground antivirus development and testing tools also have proliferated. Now malware developers could, for a small fee, check to see whether current antivirus programs from security vendors would be able to detect their malicious code.

Criminals Use Antivirus, Too

Malvertising, Dynamic Link Attacks

More and more Web attacks are relying on malvertisements and other dynamic links to compromise legitimate Websites. Attackers don't need to hack into major Websites if they can inject malicious code into a URL or into an ad that links to the site.

Malvertising, Dynamic Link Attacks

Attackers Also Cutting Costs

Why increase costs when there are so many free or low-cost options available? Cyber-criminals increasingly registered free .co, .cc and similar Internet domains for their attack sites, used free hosting services and relied on free online storage services to host malware files.

Attackers Also Cutting Costs

U.S. Remains #1 Malware Host

While various vendors differed on the exact order, everyone agreed that the U.S. hosted the most malware. The other countries in the top five were China, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Russian Federation.

U.S. Remains #1 Malware Host

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