Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year 2010 Is Here! But The Looming Threat Of Cyber Attacks Are A Cause For Concern!


Social Networking Sites like Twitter,Facebook to Become Major Targets:

According to McAfee's prediction,the hubs for those snippets of communication -- Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites -- will become major targets for cyber criminals.

Its a proven fact that today's consumers are more wary of Web links sent by strangers. They tend to trust Web links and e-mail messages sent by friends and family.

But online attackers are learning how to exploit that trust, by delivering malware that appears to come from Facebook friends, Twitter followers and friends' e-mail accounts.

Facebook which has about 350 millions is the most likely social networking site to be targetted.Though Twitter has a smaller population, because of the site's trust relationships, it too will be targeted.

URL Shorteners, Banking Sites Increasingly Exploited by Online Crooks

McAfee also warns that URL shorteners, like those used to accommodate Twitter's140 character limit, make the cyber criminal's task even easier.

Unlike many typical Web addresses that show Internet users the name of the site they're about visit, shorter URLs tend to display a string of letters and numbers that seem to have no rhyme or reason. For example, instead of showing a user "http://bankofamerica.com"or "http:/bbcnews.com," abbreviated URLs might

display only "http://bit.ly/XpEwA" or "http://bit.ly/15OAyP."

As another Internet security firm Symantec said in its recent report on 2010 threats, URL shortening services will "become the phisher's best friend."

"Because users often have no idea where a shortened URL is actually sending them, phishers are able to disguise links that the average security conscious user might think twice about clicking on," the company said.

As consumers continue to bank online, attacks on financial sites will likely increase in 2010!.

Google's New Chrome OS Could Face Security Challenges

Even though banks have upped online security with extra features to authenticate users, cyber thieves have become smarter. Some criminals have already learned how to bypass the banks' second layer of protection.

McAfee noted one new technique that involves interrupting a legitimate transaction to make an unauthorized withdrawal, while simultaneously checking the user's transaction limits to fly below the radar and avoid alerting the bank.

McAfee said another target for online crooks this year will likely be Google's new operating system, Chrome. The tech giant, which has already released a Chrome browser, is expected to release an entire open source operating system this year to rival Microsoft Windows, Linux and others.

As the "new kid on the block," McAfee predicts attackers will attempt to break the code and prey on consumers.

While Microsoft has a lot of experience with operating system security and regularly sends out patches, it will be a brand new world for Google.

Adobe to Be Number One Target for Cyber Criminals

But the No. 1 target for cyber criminals in 2010? McAfee expects it to be Adobe products, especially Flash and Acrobat reader.

Symantec also warned that malware for Mac and mobile devices will increase. As Macs and smart phones (such as iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android phones) increase in popularity, attackers will spend more time figuring out how to exploit them.

But not all predictions for 2010 are negative.As law enforcement recognizes the severity of the damage cyber criminals inflict, they are stepping up efforts to combat them. International cyber law enforcement had a number of successes in tracking, identifying and arresting cyber criminals in 2009, and McAfee expects that trend to continue in 2010.

And, ultimately, the motive behind talking about the possible cyber attacks in 2010 is to keep the consumers educated about security trends and make sure they use safe browsing technology and anti-virus software.



Monday, September 14, 2009

Symantec's 10 Most Dreaded Computer Worms And Viruses

To mark the 40th birthday of the Internet, online Security software manufacturer Symantec has put out a list of the "Top 10 Web Threats in the Internet History."

So here goes. The descriptions are Symantec's.

1. I Love You (2000) -- Who wouldn't open an e-mail with "I Love You" in the subject line? Well, that was the problem. By May 2000, 50 million infections of this worm had been reported. The Pentagon, the CIA, and the British Parliament all had to shut down their e-mail systems in order to purge the threat.

2. Conficker (2009) -- The Conficker worm has created a secure, worldwide infrastructure for cybercrime. The worm allows its creators to remotely install software on infected machines. What will that software do? We don't know. Most likely the worm will be used to create a botnet that will be rented out to criminals who want to send SPAM, steal IDs and direct users to online scams and phishing sites.

3. Melissa (1999) -- Melissa was an exotic dancer, and David L. Smith was obsessed with her and also with writing viruses. The virus he named after Melissa and released to the world on March 26, 1999, kicked off a period of high-profile threats that rocked the Internet between 1999 and 2005.

4. Slammer (2003) -- This fast-moving worm managed to temporarily bring much of the Internet to its knees in January 2003. The threat was so aggressive that it was mistaken by some countries to be an organized attack against them.

5. Nimda (2001) -- A mass-mailing worm that uses multiple methods to spread itself, within 22 minutes, Nimda became the Internet's most widespread worm. The name of the virus came from the reversed spelling of "admin."

6. Code Red (2001) -- Web sites affected by the Code Red worm were defaced by the phrase "Hacked By Chinese!" At its peak, the number of infected hosts reached 359,000.

7. Blaster (2003) -- Blaster is a worm that triggered a payload that launched a denial of service attack against windowsupdate.com, which included the message, "billy gates why do you make this possible? Stop making money and fix your software!!"

8. Sasser (2004) -- This nasty worm spread by exploiting a vulnerable network port, meaning that it could spread without user intervention. Sasser wreaked havoc on everything from The British Coast Guard to Delta Airlines, which had to cancel some flights after its computers became infected.

9. Storm (2007) -- Poor Microsoft, always the popular target. Like Blaster and others before, this worm's payload performed a denial-of-service attack on www.microsoft.com. During Symantec's tests an infected machine was observed sending a burst of almost 1,800 e-mails in a five-minute period.

10. Morris (1988) -- An oldie but a goodie; without Morris the current threat "superstars" wouldn't exist. The Morris worm (or Internet worm) was created with innocent intentions. Robert Morris claims that he wrote the worm in an effort to gauge the size of the Internet. Unfortunately, the worm contained an error that caused it to infect computers multiple times, creating a denial of service.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Microsoft To Provide Free Anti-Virus

The software giant Microsoft has been criticised in the past for failing to include free security software with Windows.

Its first security package, Windows Live OneCare, failed to attract many customers and will be discontinued.

Microsoft Security Essentials (MSE) promises to provide people with basic protection against viruses, trojans, rootkits and spyware.Microsoft is hoping that MSE, available as a free download from its site, will prove more popular. It has said it will automatically update it for users.

However, rival security vendors have questioned whether Microsoft can compete with more established anti-virus players.security firms like Symantec,AVG have had their fare share of criticism regarding the effectiveness of the free anti-virus provided by Microsoft.

A trial version of Microsoft's free anti-virus software has been launched in the US, China, Brazil, and Israel.Initially 75,000 trial versions of MSE, codenamed Morro, will be available in the US, Brazil, China and Israel.

The software will be rolled out in other countries later this year.