Tag Archives: malicious codes

PandLabs 2011 Security Trends Predictions

imageEvery year, I hold on to the belief that we’ve seen the worst that cyber-criminals can throw at us – so I’m always hopeful, that the outlook for the coming year might offer some improvement. As the years go by, inevitably it seems, my hopes have been dashed.

The Internet, despite its promises (many of which have come to pass, admittedly), has become a cesspool of cyber criminals (who continue to belittle us), scam and fraud artists, and worse. A cesspool that reeks of tainted search engine results, malware infected legitimate websites, drive-by downloads and bogus security software. And now it seems, we’re approaching the point where anarchy might well begin to rule the Internet.

The recent WikiLeaks kafuffle, with its counter play DDoS attacks pitting supporters against non-supporters, is a singular indication of how quickly the Internet can devolve into anarchy. No matter the views one may hold politically, with respect to the WikiLeaks disclosures, the use of hacktivism as a political tool is a worrisome trend.

PandaLabs, in its just released predictions covering the top security trends for 2011, is predicting an increase in the type of hacktivism the WikiLeaks conflict has pushed into the spotlight. Moreover, PandaLabs report paints a dismal picture of how the Internet threat landscape is likely to shift and change, in the coming year

According to PandaLabs, in addition to a new focus on hacktivism and cyber-war; more profit-oriented malware; social media; social engineering and malicious codes with the ability to adapt to avoid detection will be the main threats in the coming year.

Report highlights:

Continued growth of new strains of malware creation

2010 marked a turning point in the cyber war, and PandaLabs expects more of the same in 2011

Cyber-protests, or hacktivism (e.g. Anonymous), are all the rage and will continue to grow in frequency

Social engineering will increase as cyber criminals increasingly use social platforms to launch distributed attacks

Windows 7 users will become a significant target for malware in 2011

Mobile security will be a top concern for Android users

As tablets gain market share, so will their appeal to be targeted by cyber criminals

As the market share of Mac users continues to grow, so will the number of threats

HTML5 will be the perfect target since a security hole can be exploited regardless of the browser

Highly dynamic and encrypted threats are expected to increase, given the financial incentive for information on the black market

Being aware of the shape of the Internet landscape, and the changes that are occurring, or may occur in that landscape, now, more than ever, is a necessity – a prerequisite to protecting yourself and your computer from cybercriminal attack. Forewarned is forearmed, needs to be your guiding light – appropriate knowledge will act as your shield.

About PandaLabs:

Since 1990, PandaLabs, Panda Security’s malware research laboratory, has been working to detect and classify malware in order to protect consumers and companies against new Internet threats.

To do so, PandaLabs uses Collective Intelligence, a cloud-based proprietary system that leverages the knowledge gathered from Panda’s user community to automatically detect, analyze and classify the more than 63,000 new malware strains that appear every day.

This automated malware classification is complemented through the work of an international team with researchers specialized each in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and other attacks) to provide global coverage.

Get more information about PandaLabs and subscribe to its blog news feed here.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Internet Safety, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Reports, Online Safety, Panda Security, PandaLabs, Reports, Windows Tips and Tools

PandaLabs – 2009 Sets New Record for Malware

image When I report on Identity Theft, Banker Trojans, Fake Antivirus Applications, Social Network malware attacks, Spam, and other forms of malware designed to compromise Internet users’ computers, I sometimes feel like the boy who ‘”cried wolf”, in that old familiar children’s story.

The truth is though, I’m now more convinced than ever, that I’m much more like the Dutch boy, in another old familiar children’s story, who stuck his finger in the dike.

An exaggeration? Hardly – according to PandaLabs Annual Malware Report released today, the company identified 25 million new malware strains in 2009, with Banker Trojans and fake antivirus programs topping the list – more malware than it detected in the previous 19 years combined. With apologies to Winston Churchill – “Some finger – some dike!”

The following report provided by PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory of Panda Security, reviews the major incidents, and events, concerning IT security in 2009, and includes what we should expect to face in 2010.

PandaLabs 2009 Annual Report:

The outstanding trend of the last 12 months has been the prolific production of new malware: 25 million new strains were created in just one year, compared to a combined total of 15 million throughout the rest of Panda Security’s 20-year history.

This latest surge of activity included countless new examples of banker Trojans, which represented approximately 66 percent of all new samples, as well as a host of fake antivirus programs, also known as rogueware. The report also draws attention to the resurgence of traditional viruses previously on the verge of extinction, such as Conficker, Sality and the veteran Virutas.

During 2009, spam was also highly active: approximately 92 percent of all e-mail traffic was identified as spam. The tricks used to dupe potential victims into opening these e-mails have focused heavily on exploiting current affairs and dramatic news stories – a tactic which also applied to search engine optimization (SEO) attacks. As such, PandaLabs saw waves of junk mail related to celebrity scandals or deaths (real or fictitious), swine flu, compromising videos of politicians, etc.

This year PandaLabs also tracked how spam impacted different industrial sectors, revealing that the automotive and consumer electronics industries were the worst affected, followed by government agencies.

In terms of malware distribution channels, social networks, mainly including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Digg, as well as SEO attacks that directed users to malware-laden Web sites, were favored by cybercriminals last year. Cybercriminals continued to consolidate underground business models that exploited social engineering techniques to generate revenues.

The Annual Malware Report also examines how individual countries and regions have been affected throughout the year, based on the data gathered from computers scanned and disinfected free of charge with Panda ActiveScan.

Taiwan tops the rankings, followed by Russia, Poland, Turkey, Colombia, Argentina and Spain. Countries suffering fewest infections include Portugal and Sweden. A graphic representation of malware infection rates by country can be found here.

Last year also saw a rise in the number of cyber attacks with political motives or targets, suggesting that what people have been watching in espionage and sci-fi movies for years is now becoming a reality.

In conclusion, PandaLabs predicts that the amount of malware in circulation will continue to grow during 2010. Windows 7 will attract the interest of hackers when it comes to designing new malware, and attacks on Apple computers will increase. While the industry will also witness more politically motivated attacks, PandaLabs believes that 2010 will not be the year of the cell phone virus.

To read the full PandaLabs Annual Report report in PDF format, click here.

More information about malicious codes is available in the Panda Security Encyclopedia. You can also follow Panda Security’s online activity on its Twitter and PandaLabs blog.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Interconnectivity, Malware Advisories, Malware Reports, Panda Security, PandaLabs, Windows 7, Windows Tips and Tools

Faketube.A Worm and Zapchast.EX Backdoor Trojan – PandaLabs Reports

Courtesy of Panda Security: This week’s PandaLabs report looks at a worm, and a backdoor Trojan.

The Faketube.A worm spreads via email. The message includes a link to access an erotic video. Some of the message subjects are: “Giga Video
Movie Britney Spirs and 8 Beverage Andorran” and “Stimulating Image
Britney Spirs and One Manifest South Korean”.

If users click the link, the browser opens and a fraudulent website is displayed, which resembles YouTube.


Additionally, users are asked to update their flash player version to see the video. If they accept, the worm is downloaded.

Zapchast.EX is a backdoor Trojan that spreads using a fake Christmas card. In order to view the card, users are asked to install a special version of flash player which is really the Trojan.


Once Zapchast.EX is installed on the system, it establishes connections with
several IP addresses, awaiting orders and gathering user information.

More information about these and other malicious codes is available in the Panda Security Encyclopedia. You can also follow Panda Security’s online activity on its Twitter and PandaLabs blog.

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Filed under cybercrime, Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, internet scams, Internet Security Alerts, Malware Advisories, Panda Security, PandaLabs, trojans, Windows Tips and Tools, worms