Symantec released a new report about Internet security threats. They state that the current Internet threat environment is characterized by an increase in data theft, data leakage, and the creation of targeted, malicious code for the purpose of stealing confidential information that can be used for financial gain. Cyber criminals continue to refine their attack methods in an attempt to remain undetected and to create global, cooperative networks to support the ongoing growth of criminal activity.
Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report Volume XI reveals:
Symantec reported more than 6 million distinct bot-infected computers worldwide during the second half of 2006, representing a 29 percent increase from the previous period. However, the number of command-and-control servers used to relay commands to these bots decreased by 25 percent, indicating that bot network owners are consolidating their networks and increasing the size of their existing networks.
Trojans constituted 45 percent of the top 50 malicious code samples, representing a 23 percent increase over the first six months of 2006. This significant increase supports Symantec’s forecast from previous research, which noted that attackers appeared to be making a shift away from mass-mailing worms toward using Trojans.
Symantec documented 12 zero-day vulnerabilities during the second half of 2006, marking a significant increase from the one zero-day vulnerability documented in the first half of 2006, increasing the exposure of consumers and businesses to unknown threats.
Underground Economy Servers are being used by criminals and criminal organizations to sell stolen information, including government-issued identity numbers, credit cards, bank cards and personal identification numbers (PINs), user accounts, and e-mail address lists.
Theft or loss of a computer or data storage medium, such as a USB memory key, made up 54 percent of all identity theft-related data breaches.
For the first time, Symantec identified the countries with the highest amount of malicious activity originating from their networks. The United States had the highest proportion of overall malicious activity, with 31 percent; China was second, with 10 percent; and Germany was third, with 7 percent.