6 Tech Threats to Watch Out For

Your computer infrastructure could be a ticking time bomb, but it doesn’t have to be.

AVG Technologies, a leading provider of internet and mobile security, presented “AVG Community Powered Threat Report – Q2 2011” earlier this summer, providing insight, background and analysis on the trends and developments in the global threat landscape. If interested, you can read and access the full threat report.

‘Trusted malware’

The report unearths how ‘trusted malware’ is continuing to grow at an alarming rate. In Q2, AVG’s Threat Labs have seen an increase in the number of stolen digital certificates used to sign malware, before being distributed by hackers. A significant increase of over 300% was identified at the start of 2011, compared to the whole of 2010. The practice of trusting signed files is rapidly losing its strength.

Mac attack

As Macs continue to rise in popularity, they are increasingly becoming the latest victims of cyber crime, the report reveals. With the platform reaching crucial market share levels, it is starting to appear on the radar of cyber criminals. While it may be a new target platform, cyber criminals are using tried and tested social engineering techniques to attack Mac OS users.

Mobile Malware

Increasingly, cyber crooks are using mobile malware to monetize using premium SMS and fake apps. Monetizing techniques via mobile are much easier to operate than those in use on PC. By spamming users to download apps or simply posting them on download stores or markets, the software distribution is easy and scalable. Smallbiztechnology.com will be covering mobile malware later on this month.

An eye on SpyEye

The report provides insight into the most prevalent malware targeting online banking in the past few years – SpyEye. The rise in SpyEye means that users of internet banking need to be extra vigilant, especially as victims of cyber attacks are increasingly considered to be accountable.

A recent court ruling in the US concluded that it was in fact the victim’s responsibility to protect their account credentials, rather than the bank – namely via the use of internet security and identity protection tools.

The AVG Threat Labs investigated the operation of 702 Command and Control servers in the first half of 2011. The research results match the geolocation of the servers as well as the popularity of the various malware versions in use by each C&C. The US holds the lead in Command and Control Servers with 30% of the market share, followed by Ukraine with 22%.

Brazil

The United States still remains the dominant source of spam with English as the main language used in spam messages, followed by the UK with Brazil only just coming third. However, Brazil is rapidly closing that gap and is on course to overtake the UK, likely in the next quarter.

World Wild Web

“In Q2 cybercriminals have clearly been shifting their focus to new markets, with a clear goal on increasing revenue from their operations,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Chief Technology Officer, AVG Technologies.

“The World Wide Web might as well be re-branded as the World Wild Web. Our research indicates that hundreds of live servers operating around the world are active 24/7 to steal users’ credentials for online banking and other private assets. As attack techniques of hackers continue to get more advanced, users need to take action. Security products, with multi-layers of protection, are a must have to protect against the potentially damaging threats that lurk on the web. The user’s computer platform is becoming irrelevant for these cyber criminals – Windows, Android, Mac and iOS are all targeted now.”

Other key findings include:

  • 11.3% of malware are using external hardware devices (e.g. flash drives) as a distribution method (AutoRun)
  • Blackhole remains the most prevalent exploit toolkit in the wild, accounting for 75.83% of toolkits
  • Exploit Toolkits are responsible for 37% of all threat activity
  • 32.9% of Spam messages originated from the USA followed by the United Kingdom with 3.9%

 

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About Allison Midori Reilly

Allison Midori Reilly is the CEO and Founder of Stirring Media, LLC. Stirring Media, LLC is a content marketing and news production firm that provides content marketing and business blogging services to the small business market. Prior to that, she was a freelance writer, who was published in over a dozen print and online publications, such as Smallbiztechnology.com, American City & County, Ideabing.com, Transport Topics and St. Louis Commerce Magazine. In her spare time, Reilly is an active member of Amnesty International as well as an avid poker player.