Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Latest Report on Malicious Software on the Internet.

Webroot recently released there quarterly report on malicious software on the internet and it wasn’t encouraging.

After scanning almost 60,000 computers at approximately 20,000 companies they found a large increase in the number of Spyware and Adware programs infecting these systems. This is most worrisome since corporate enterprise systems have available the most resources to protect themselves. They have the manpower and the budgets to implement the software and practices that should be preventing such infections. If corporate America isn’t getting the job done then you can bet that the problem is much, much worse for individual users.

Webroot found that 80 percent of the enterprise computers they scanned are infected with some kind of Spyware/ Adware program. The average number of such programs found per computer increased to 27 up a whopping 20 percent from the previous quarter.

This increase comes at a time when awareness of Spyware, Adware, and other malicious software is at an all time high and in a sector which potentially has the resources available to it to fight against these kinds of problems. That means that companies are losing their battle with malicious software writers.

Even more troubling is the fact that infection by the worst of the malicious programs, mainly Trojan Horses and key loggers, stayed about the same. These programs are a much greater risk to the security of any system than the Spyware/Adware programs we’ve known in the past. They result in identity and data theft which is much costlier and more destructive than spam and pop up ads ever will be.

This increasing trend toward developing Trojans and key loggers shows that the malicious software writers are changing from a pay-per-click advertising theme to an identity data theft model. Their attacks are more and more exploiting these much more profitable crimes. It also seems to indicate that organized crime is involved since these programs are more intricate and require a lot of group involvement.

It isn’t the juvenile hacker who’s the problem anymore. It’s the well funded technological savvy criminal that we all need to fear. These guys aren’t interested in where you go on the internet. They aren’t trying to show you ads and popups. They are after your credit card and bank account numbers so they can rob you of all the money they can get. They want to get into your eBay account and would love to get your PayPal password. They’re after cold hard cash and they will do what ever is necessary to get it.

Using new advanced methods and stealth technology they are creating programs that are circumventing the safeguards that we have came to rely on. That means that we all must adapt to these new threats and increase our efforts if we are to protect ourselves. Just remember that even though there are dangers out there it is possible to be on line and be reasonable safe. It just takes awareness and the right tools and procedures to make it happen.

So while it’s gotten tougher it isn’t impossible to protect ourselves we just need to work smarter and harder to get it done. With that in mind I’ll be covering what we can all be doing to properly protect ourselves in a series of up coming articles so stay tuned.


Read an excerpt from Webroot’s report with links to the complete report here;

(The complete Webroot report in PDF format is about 9megs and to download it you are required to give them you name and address. The excerpt is however is available with out any information required and will provide a good overview of the complete report. Besides unless you love this stuff you don’t want that much information anyway. Trust me I’ve read the complete report and it will put you to sleep.)

You can read eWeek’s article about Webroot’s report here;

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