Looking back at what we’ve experienced in the past, enhances our ability to look ahead, and as high level computer users’ (the majority of readers on this site), it’s important to try to get a feel for what we’re likely to encounter in the malware threat landscape in the coming year.
Symantec Hosted Services, MessageLabs Intelligence division, has just released it’s annual security report which presents, in some detail, data on the types of diversified attacks we had to content with this past year.
As a precursor of things to come, Symantec predicts that in 2011 – “botnet controllers will resort to employing steganography techniques to control their computers.
This means hiding their commands in plain view – perhaps within images or music files distributed through file sharing or social networking web sites. This approach will allow criminals to surreptitiously issue instructions to their botnets without relying on an ISP to host their infrastructure thus minimizing the chances of discovery”.
If the past is a reasonable predictor of the future, and it’s almost certain that it is, then it we’re in for another rough year.
2010 Report highlights:
Web Security: For 2010, the average number of new malicious websites blocked each day rose to 3,066 compared to 2,465 for 2009, an increase of 24.3 percent. MessageLabs Intelligence identified malicious web threats on 42,926 distinct domains, the majority of which were compromised legitimate domains.
Spam: In 2010 the annual average global spam rate was 89.1 percent, an increase of 1.4 percent on the 2009. In August, the global spam rate peaked at 92.2 percent when the proportion of spam sent from botnets rose to 95 percent as a new variant of the Rustock botnet was seeded and quickly put to use.
Viruses: In 2010, the average rate for malware contained in email traffic was 1 in 284.2 emails (0.352 percent) almost unchanged when compared with 1 in 286.4 (0.349%) for 2009. In 2010, over 115.6 million emails were blocked by Skeptic™ representing an increase of 58.1 percent compared with 2009. There were 339.673 different malware strains identified in the malicious emails blocked. This represents more than a hundred fold increase over 2009 and is due to growth in polymorphic malware variants.
Phishing: In 2010, the average ratio of email traffic blocked as phishing attacks was 1 in 444.5 (0.23 percent), compared with 1 in 325.2 (0.31 percent) in 2009. Approximately 95.1 billion phishing emails were projected to be in circulation in 2010.
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.
Symantec’s latest MessageLabs Intelligence Report is scary stuff, and I encourage you to read this report which will give you some indication of where we’re likely headed, and what we’ll have to deal with.
The annual MessageLabs Intelligence Report provides greater detail on all the trends and figures noted above, as well as more detailed trends for 2010. The full report is available here.
About Message Labs Intelligence:
Symantec’s Message Labs Intelligence is a respected source of data and analysis for messaging security issues, trends and statistics. MessageLabs Intelligence provides a range of information on global security threats based on live data feeds from our control towers around the world scanning billions of messages each week.
Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available here.
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