Anti-virus leader predicts stealth and automation will be major concerns in 2009.
More than 80% of malware distributed worldwide in 2008 consisted of Trojans according to the E-Threats Landscape Report, a comprehensive security threat study published by BitDefender Lab, an award-winning provider of antivirus software and data security solutions. This E-Threats Landscape Report, the second in a series of security reports, provides a comprehensive overview of the security threats landscape over the last six months, from July through December 2008, and takes a look at what lies ahead in 2009.
BitDefender’s security experts analysed and examined the menaces of the second half of 2008, focusing on software vulnerabilities and exploits, different types of malware, as well as countermeasures, cyber crime prevention and law enforcement. They found that Internet users had to cope with approximately 2000 new and mutated viruses per day, nearly 50 000 phishing attempts per month and more than 1 000 000 hijacked computers that spread bots, rootkits, Trojans and other malware in 2008.
Highlights from BitDefender’s E-Threats Landscape Report for the second half of 2008 include:
* Web-based e-threats level increased 460%.
* 75% of Trojans included complex updating mechanisms, stealth data download and upload features, as well as spyware and rootkit capabilities.
* The most common headlines used to spread e-threats included the alleged US invasion of Iran, the 29th Olympic Games and the US Presidential Election.
* Plain text comprised 80% of e-mail spam, while image spam dropped to only 1,5%.
* The number of spam e-mails containing infected attachments or linking pages prompting users to download malicious programs increased 400%.
* The countries most affected by e-threats included France, China, United States, Germany and Spain.
* Nearly 70% of phishing attempts surrounded the global financial crisis.
* New spam techniques mimicking newsletters and alerts from news corporations such as CNN, CBS and ABC were introduced.
* Spammers concentrated their attention on receipt messages, to increase spam efficiency.
“The purpose of BitDefender’s E-Threats Landscape Reports are to provide consistent and useful information to consumers about the malware industry,” said Bogdan Dumitru, BitDefender’s chief technology officer. “Not only does BitDefender want to educate consumers about what is currently happening in the malware industry, but we also want to provide consumers with guidance about what to expect and how to protect against e-threats in the upcoming year. For example, nearly 45% of the e-threats in the wild in 2008 were distributed via e-mail. With this in mind, consumers should make securing e-mail communication a priority in 2009.”
E-threat predictions for 2009 from BitDefender’s E-Threats Landscape Report include:
* Malware production will continue to exploit the same Web-based capabilities of Trojans, spyware and rootkits.
* Existing e-threat families will suffer significant upgrades and mutations in terms of stealth and automation of spreading mechanisms.
* An increase in the exploitation of application vulnerabilities, similar to the latest password stealing application vulnerability (Trojan.PWS.ChromeInject.A) BitDefender researchers identified in early December, is expected to increase.
* Targeted attacks on Web 2.0 applications, namely social networking sites, is expected to increase.
* Smartphones and other intelligent high-end devices with permanent Internet access will be targeted by new generations of mobile malware.
To download BitDefender’s complete E-Threats Landscape Report, please visit the BitDefender website www.bitdefender.co.za