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More than 1.6 million malicious code threats last year, says Symantec Malaysia

AvantiKumar | April 30, 2009
Results from latest Symantec global threat report

KUALA LUMPUR, 30 APRIL 2009 Malicious code is growing at record levels, according to Symantec Malaysia.

Symantec enterprise security consultant, Malaysia, Kannan Velayutham, said the company's latest Internet Security Threat Report, drawn from examining Internet usage during 2008, detected 1,656,277 malicious code threats last year. This is an increased of 265 per cent over 2007 figures, which is a significant jump.

Most of these malicious codes operate remotely, said Velayutham, who added that these signatures helped Symantec to bloc an average of more than 245 million attempted malicious code attacks globally each month during 2008.

The report is a study of data collected by millions of Internet sensors, first-hand research and active monitoring of hacker communications.

Blossoming underground economy

Key global trends showed that attackers are increasingly targeting end-users by compromising trusted websites, as well as moving their operations to regions, such as China and other emerging Internet infrastructures, he said. Cross-functional industry cooperation in the security community is becoming imperative.

Velayutham said many data breaches relate to the loss of small portable devices such as USB memory keys and portable hard drives. Attackers use malicious code using P2P (peer to peer) file-sharing protocols, which is a return to an older propagation method.

Underground servers allow the advertising and trading of stolen data such as identity and credit card information, he said. Thirty-two per cent of advertised data is credit card information, and bank account credentials amount to 19 per cent. Prices range from 6 US cents to US$30 per credit card data.

Improvement: Malaysia drops in rankings

Malaysia is not in the top 10 for overall malicious code activity, which is good news, said Velayutham. China was the top country for malicious activity in APJ [Asia Pacific and Japan] with 41 per cent of the overall proportion, South Korea ranked second with 11 per cent. Singapore is now in the top 10 of malicious activity.

Malaysia ranked no 9 in APJ in the bot-infected (robot) computers by country section, which is a drop from number 6 previously, another good sign, he added.

While the study findings show that Malaysia has dropped in terms of country ranking within APJ for bot-infected computers, hosting phishing websites and spam origin, the global volume of these activities continue to grow at a rapid pace, said Velayutham. What remains critical is the continuing education for users both in the home and at work.


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