Companies' Sensitive Data Increasingly Targeted by Malware
CREDIT: Kheng Ho Toh | Dreamstime.com
The use of hostile programming and software designed to steal data reached all-time highs in 2011, new research shows.
The latest Phishing Activity Trends Report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group shows data-stealing malware and generic Trojans increased from 36 percent of all malware detected in January 2011, to its highest-ever level of 45 percent in April.
According to the study, the 10 most-prevalent families of fake anti-virus software are responsible for nearly 70 percent of the infections
"The first half of 2011 saw an increase in not only the amount of malicious samples received but more importantly, malware files going after confidential information such as credit card data, social security numbers and credentials to financial websites," said Patrik Runald, senior manager of security research for Websense and a contributing analyst to the study. "With cybercrime being an industry generating hundreds of millions of dollars for the bad guys, it's clear that this is a trend we will see for a long time."
While malware and Trojan use is on the rise, spam-based phishing attacks are on a downward trend.
In the first six months of 2011, the number of unique phishing reports peaked at 26,402, down 35 percent from the all-time high in 2009. In addition, the number of unique phishing websites detected was down more than 32 percent from August 2009's record high.
The number of phished brands also was down 5 percent from the all-time high reached in October 2009.
The Anti-Phishing Working Group is a global industry, law-enforcement and government coalition focused on unifying the global response to electronic crime. Its biannualPhishing Activity Trends Reportanalyzes phishing attacks reported by its member companies, its global research partners, and through online submissions. The report also measures the evolution, proliferation and propagation of crimeware, drawing from the research of its member companies.