Cyber Security Threats On Rise!

Tags: online safety,, online security spams spamming cyber crime, online security, online safety, policy and issues, security

A recently released Cisco report on cyber security threats disclosed some startling revelations. It was proven beyond doubt that cyber criminals are becoming more and more web savvy & professional in stealing data from business, employees and consumers.

Patrick Peterson, Chief Security Researcher of Cisco commented, "Every year we see threats evolve, as criminals discover new ways to exploit people, networks and the Internet. This year's trends underscore how important it is to look at all basic elements of security policies and technologies."

As an afterthought, Mr. Peterson added, “Organizations can lower their risk of data loss by fine-tuning access controls and patching known vulnerabilities to eliminate the ability for criminals to exploit holes in infrastructures. It is important to upgrade applications, endpoint systems and networking equipment to help ensure that corporate systems run smoothly and minimize risk."

Global threats
In the Cisco annual report the company identified the following top security threats.

Spam:   As per Cisco records, spam accounts for more than 90% of the world wide email. The United States is the biggest source at 17.2 percent. Other countries who contribute to spam include Turkey (9.2 percent), Russia (8 percent), Canada (4.7 percent), Brazil (4.1 percent), India (3.5 percent), Poland (3.4 percent), South Korea (3.3 percent), Germany and the United Kingdom (2.9 percent each).

Phishing: Phishing has become more prevalent as the criminals have started personalizing spam and making messages appear more credible. Spear-phishing is on rise all in the West.

Botnets: Botnets have become a hub of criminal activity on the Internet. This malicious software run by collection of software robots or bots, can play havoc to PC and access user’s personal data This year, numerous legitimate Web sites were infected with IFrames, malicious code injected by Botnets that redirect visitors to malware-downloading sites.

Social Engineering: Cisco expects that in 2009, social engineering techniques, act of manipulating people into performing actions or divulging confidential information by enticing victims to open a file or click links, will continue to grow.

Reputation Hijacking: Reputation hijacking, using e-mail accounts with legitimate web mail providers to send spam is on rise. Cisco estimates that in 2008 Spam Reputation Hijacking will constitute 7.6 percent of the providers' mail traffic. In fact, this kind of hijacking remains the favorite of hackers as it  ensures increased deliverability, as it makes spam harder to detect and block.

Notable Trends in The Annual Cisco Security Report:
Following are some of the rising trends observed in the Cisco Security Report:

1.90 % growth is observed in threats originating from legitimate domains; it is nearly double what was recorded in 2007.

2.The overall number of disclosed vulnerabilities grew by 11.5 percent over 2007.
Cyber attacks are becoming increasingly blended, cross-vector and targeted.

3.The volume of malware successfully propagated via e-mail attachments is declining. Over the past two years (2007-2008), the number of attachment-based attacks decreased by 50 percent from the previous two years (2005-2006)

The report was complied by Cisco Security Intelligence Operations..Sources for Cisco Security Intelligence Operations data include Cisco's worldwide Threat Operations Centers, Cisco Security Remote Management Services, the SenderBase Network, Cisco Security IntelliShield Alert Manager, Cisco Intrusion Prevention Systems and a variety of other Cisco functions, including Cisco Security Research and Operations, Cisco Security Incident Response, the Corporate Security Programs Office, and Global Policy and Government Affairs.

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