Malware economy on the rise

Based on a steady flow of reports on a vast variety of data security threats during the first half of 2007, security firm F-Secure Lab says the bad guys are winning. According to the company, the perpetrators of orchestrated security attacks are gaining an ever firmer foothold in their effort to build a stronger, sustainable commercial economy based on carefully crafted exploits targeting consumers, companies and public sector organizations.

Social engineering malware reached a new level of sophistication with the appearance of the Small.DAM Trojan, which caused havoc when it began showing up in email in January, 2007. The so called Storm Worm appeared in emails purporting to offer information about shocking headline news linked to real-life events, such as the January storms in Europe. The Trojan spread at an alarming speed across the globe in just one night.

The banking industry continued to be a key target for phishing scams. F-Secure says that scammers are implementing new techniques in their attacks, including content filters that keep closer track of consumers’ online banking activity. Such detection methods make it easier for fraudsters to collect more account details using a variety of methods.

Meanwhile, the banking industry appears to be making progress in finding solutions to thwart banking scams, notes F-Secure. The company stated in a press release, “We believe that top-level domains inaccessible to scammers, such as .bank, could put a stop to some of the most alarming phishing activity.”

Malware targeting mobile devices also is becoming increasingly sophisticated, according to F-Secure. Personalised SMS spam, financial lotteries, and Viver trojans masking themselves as utility programs are some of the examples of the fast-developing mobile scams, says the company. New spyware was also reported for some Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 3rd Edition devices. 078060

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