Malware growth exceeds expectation

A growing number of targeted malware attacks have taken place on individuals, companies, and organisations, according to a report by F-Secure.

The anti-virus and computer security software company found that by the end of June 2008 they had identified 900,000 detections. This is a stark contrast the 500,000 detections recorded at the end of 2007.

F-Secure's virus labs attributed the growth to the increased professionalism among cyber criminals, the development of Mebroot, the use of Storm Worm, or Omalware 2.0, SQL injections and mobile phone Omodding, or the recreational hacking or modifying of phone hardware.

Asked as to whether the results were surprising, technical manager for F-Secure Leslie Forbes said that he expected the results.

"I wasn't surprised by the findings at all. I think the reason why the figures have doubled almost, is largely down to the professional nature of the business. There's a business model behind malware these people are making money from it."

The report also found that there was an increase in the number of highly targeted attacks, where victims are being profiled prior to an attack. This kind of behaviour enables the attack to appear legitimate, which raises the likelihood of the criminal body infecting the PC and gaining access to confidential and sensitive information.

But despite the grim findings, Forbes added that businesses can still help fend off potential attacks, as long as they are prepared.

"A business has to have a really defined security policy. You have to catch this sort of activity as early as possible. Businesses should really have a tiered approach, such as gateways, firewalls and looking at emails before they get into our exchange servers. Sadly many organisations fall short of this."


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