Symantec's latest Internet Security Threat report has warned that cyber criminals are stepping up smaller, more targeted attacks to avoid detection and reap bigger profits by stealing personal and financial information.
The company said the second half of 2005 continued to show attackers moving away from broad attacks that seek to breach firewalls and routers and are now concentrating on desktop and web applications.
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The report showed threats from viruses, worms and Trojans that can unearth confidential financial information from a user's computer rose to 80% of the top 50 malicious software code threats, against 74% in the previous six months.
Phishing attacks that trick users into revealing information such as passwords, credit card information and other financial information also rose. Between 1 July and 31 December phishing attempts made up one in every 119 processed email messages - or an average of 7.92 million phishing attempts per day, compared with 5.70 million in the first part of the year.
Symantec also confirmed the threat from ‘bot’ networks used to launch attacks on computer systems. Although the number of computers infected by botnets fell slightly, on average Symantec observed 1,402 denial of service attacks per day using botnets, representing a 51% increase over the prior reporting period.
China is the most likely source of the botnet attacks, prompted by an increase in the number of broadband internet connections in the country.
Just the 7.92 million phishing attempts a day then! It's actually surprising that phishing attempts only account for one in every 119 email messages. In my mailbox it seems like every other one.