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on Thursday, 12 July 2012
in Security Issues

Malware Threats on the Increase


This has certainly been an interesting week for those of us involved in any form, with IT and IT security.  Malware attacks are on the increase, they are now also targeting Macs and an astonishing 51% of IT administrators admitted in a survey that they couldn't guarantee that the computers they administer are malware free!

Malware Hiding in Big Brands

I guess one of the reasons the IT administrators are being so cautious is that according to a recent report by Commtouch, a leading provider of cloud-based solutions for security companies and service providers in America, its security analysts have seen substantial continued blending of big brand names with malware.  

In its July 2012 Commtouch Internet Trends Report, researchers named the following top seven brands that were abused in various third-party email attacks:

·         Amazon – Order confirmation emails that didn't describe the order, but only the balance

·         AT&T Wireless –Wireless bill summaries mentioned large account balances

·         Citi – Offered the ability to view your Citi credit card online, showing extremely high balances

·         Classmates.com – Emails thanked the recipient for joining and provided links to confirm 

·         Craigslist – With varying email subjects, messages included plausible sounding Craigslist posts

·         LinkedIn – Emails mixed pending LinkedIn invitations with messages awaiting responses

·         Verizon Wireless – Bill summary emails that copied the AT&T Wireless approach

And one of the most daring malware attacks used the increasingly popular Dropbox to get into peoples' computers.  In this malware attack, Spanish emails offer free movie tickets. Clicking on the links leads to several redirects and scripts. One of Dropbox's features allows users to create publicly available folders, which essentially turns Dropbox into a free hosting site. The use of the popular service in this way provides a powerful platform for malware distribution.

"It's clear that attackers continue to increasingly exploit the comfort level that people have gained with big online brands – and they're doing so in craftier and craftier ways," said Haniel Ilouz, vice president of global engineering at Commtouch. "Not only are easily recognized brands utilized, but clever fake collaboration between sites such as Facebook and Digg show the ever-innovative approaches attackers deploy."

The Commtouch report also details spam statistics, zombie hotspots and the top 10 malware. The report is compiled based on a comprehensive analysis of more than 10 billion transactions handled by Commtouch's GlobalView™ Cloud on a daily basis.  To view the entire report,  which we suggest you do, as forewarned is fore-armed, visit: http://www.commtouch.com/threat-report-july-2012.  

Macs no-longer invulnerable to attack

This was, perhaps, the most shocking news of the week!  It has been revealed that by using Java applets, hackers can now infect not only Windows Operating Systems, but also Linux and Mac too!

As was reported in PC Advisor, however, this new malware will only be able to affect your Mac if you are using Snow Leopard or an earlier version of OS X; it does not affect the current version.

Is Your Anti-Virus Protection Up to Date?

You might think so, but according to a survey of IT administrators, 27% can't guarantee that every computer they look after has an updated, latest-version of anti-virus software, or even that is has the current version installed. What's more 33% said they didn't have a centrally administered anti-virus protection system in place, which is probably why 51% wouldn't bet their own money that no computers in their office were free of malware or viruses!  Now there's food for thought for you.

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