80% of malware attacks in 2012, redirects from legitimate sites

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New Delhi: According to a Security Threat Report 2013 released by Sophos, a leading security and data protection firm, 80% of malware attacks in 2012 were redirects from legitimate websites that were hacked and 27% of all cybercrime was linked to ‘Blackhole’ exploit kit. Based on analyzed traffic, SophosLabs, Sophos’ global network of threat intelligence centres, has ranked India as the fifth riskiest county for experiencing a malware attack.

India has a Threat Exposure Rate (TER) of 17.44%, measured as the percentage of PCs that experienced a malware attack, whether successful or failed, over a three month period in 2012. The report is a detailed and interactive assessment of what’s happened in IT security for 2012 and what’s expected for 2013 – from the ever-growing bring your own device (BYOD) movement to the increasing adoption of (and uncertainty around) the cloud to countless other security challenges faced by organizations of all sizes.

2012 was a year of new platforms and modern malware, what was once a homogeneous world of Windows systems is now a landscape made up of diverse platforms. Modern malware is taking advantage of these trends, creating new challenges for IT security professionals. The increasing mobility of data in corporate environments has forced IT staff to become even more agile. 2012 was also a retro year driven by resurgence in traditional malware attacks, specifically malware distributed via the web.
 
Unprotected computers are vulnerable to different kinds of malware attack. Exposure to the majority, but not all, comes from simply clicking on links in emails or browsing web pages that happen to be carrying malicious code. Although some websites are created with the intention of infecting visitors, legitimate websites continue to be a popular target for cybercriminals, as once they are compromised; they will infect completely unsuspecting internet users.

While a large proportion of cybercrime continues to be opportunistic, Sophos believes that, in 2013, increased availability of malware testing platforms – some even providing criminals with money back guarantees – will make it more likely for malware to slip through traditional business security systems. As a result, we can expect to see an increase in the number of incidents where attackers have gained and sustained surreptitious access to corporate networks. Additional trends expected in the year ahead include:

• More basic web server mistakes
Due to an uptick in credential-based extractions, IT professionals will need to pay equal attention to protecting both their computers as well as their web server environment.
• More ‘irreversible’ malware
More attacks will place a greater focus on the need for behavioural protection mechanisms as well as system hardening and backup/restore procedures.
• Attack toolkits with premium features
A continued evolution in the maturation of exploit kits, including premium features such as built in scriptable web services, APIs, and malware quality assurance platforms that appear to make access to high quality malicious code even simpler.
• Better exploit mitigation
Enhanced exploit mitigation will not mean the end of exploits, instead, the market will see a decrease in vulnerability exploits offset by a sharp rise in social engineering attacks across a wide array of platforms.
• Integration, privacy and security challenges

With GPS and near field communication (NFC) becoming more integrated into mobile platforms, expect to see a convergence in our digital and physical lives. This trend is identifiable not just for mobile devices, but for computing in general. In the coming year, watch for new examples of attacks built on these technologies.

Kerala IT News

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