The growth of new cyber threats slowed in 2010, study finds

Cyber criminals have created 34% of all existing malware in the past 12 months, according to the 2010 Annual Security Report by researchers at Panda Security.

Cyber criminals have created 34% of all existing malware in the past 12 months, according to the 2010 Annual Security Report by researchers at Panda Security.

Despite this growth, the report says the speed with which the number of new threats is increasing has dropped with respect to 2009.

Since 2003, new threats grew by at least 100% every year, but in 2010, the increase was around 50%.

Banker Trojans dominate the ranking of new malware that appeared in 2010, accounting for 56% of all samples, followed by viruses and worms.

The report notes that while rogue or fake anti-virus software appeared only four years ago, it already makes up 11.6% of all malware analysed by PandaLabs.

Regarding infection methods, 2010 saw hackers exploit social media, the positioning of fake websites through BlackHat SEO techniques and zero-day vulnerabilities.

Spam kept its position as one of the main threats in 2010, despite the fact that the dismantling of some botnets prevented many computers from being used as zombies to send spam, which has had a positive effect in spam traffic worldwide.

In 2009, around 95% of all email traffic globally was spam, yet this figure dropped to an average of 85% in 2010.

2010 was also a year of cyber-crime, cyber-war and cyber-activism, highlighted by the discovery of the Stuxnet worm that targeted nuclear power plant and the "Here you have" worm that was created by a terrorist organisation known as "Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad".

At the start of 2010, Google revealed it had been hit by an attack known as Operation Aurora which was allegedly launched from China and targeted employees of some large multinationals by installing a Trojan on their PCs that could access confidential information.

Cyber protests or hacktivism also made its mark in 2010.This phenomenon, made famous by the Anonymous group, is not actually new, the report said, but grabbed headlines in 2010 for the coordinated DDoS attacks launched on copyright societies and their defence of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Social networks were also in the spotlight with security incidents affecting services in 2010 at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Fotolog, the report said.

Read more on Hackers and cybercrime prevention

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