Microsoft Corporation today released its Security Intelligence Report volume ten, where the findings indicate that the cybercriminals are increasingly targeting consumers. There is polarization in terms of cybercriminal behavior and a significant increase in the use of “marketing-like” approaches and deception tactics to steal money from consumers. SIRv10 (http://www.microsoft.com/sir), which is focused on the period of July to December 2010, gathers analysis of data from more than 600 million systems worldwide.The findings also indicate a divergence in cybercriminal behavior. On one side, highly sophisticated criminals skilled at creating exploits and informed with intelligence about a target’s environment, pursue high-value targets with large payoffs. On the other side, there are cybercriminals using more accessible attack methods, including social engineering tactics and leveraging exploits created by the more skilled criminals, to take a small amount of money from a large number of people. These attack methods include the use of rogue security software, phishing through social networks, and adware, which have increased in prevalence in 2010.
Attackers continue to incorporate social lures that appear to be legitimate marketing campaigns and product promotions. Six of the top ten most prevalent malware families in the second half of 2010 fall into these categories of attack methods. Criminals using these malware families make money through tricking users with pay-per-click schemes, false advertisements, or fake security software for sale. Additionally, the report highlights an increase of over 1200 percent in phishing through social networking sites, as these venues have become lucrative hot beds for criminal activity.
“Social networking is on a high and cybercriminals and these sites have creates new opportunities for cybercriminals to not only directly impact users, but also friends, colleagues and family through impersonation. These techniques add to an existing list of social engineering techniques, such as financial and product promotions, to extort money or trick users into downloading malicious content. In India alone, there are over 50 million users of social networking sites viz. facebook, orkut, LinkedIn, Twitter. Hence the opportunities for cybercriminals to create havoc too has increased manifold. Microsoft is committed to address issues related to online crime and this report is a guide for all consumers to make them aware of the threats that exist online”. Said Sanjay Bahl, Chief Security Officer, Microsoft India.
“With more consumers and devices coming online every day, cybercriminals now have more opportunities than before to deceive users through attack methods like adware, phishing and rogue security software. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to decipher legitimate communications and promotions given the sophistication of tools criminals are using, so it’s more important than ever to provide information and guidance about these online threats to increase protections and awareness.” Said Graham Titterington, Principal Analyst, Ovum.
Some notable findings [Global & Indian]
According to the report:
The report also highlights some key findings vis-à-vis the Indian landscape:
Additionally, rogue security software, or scareware, has quickly become one of the most common ways for cybercriminals across the globe to acquire money and private information from unassuming computer users. Rogue security software families, including the most prevalent, Win32/FakeSpypro, appear similar to legitimate security software providing a false sense of protection, and if trusted and clicked by the user, downloads itself and compromises systems. In 2010, Microsoft protected nearly 19 million systems from rogue security software. The top five rogue security software families were responsible for 70 percent or approximately 13 million of those detections.
Microsoft encourages employing the following best practices for securing networks, software and devices:-