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Hallowe'en Malware Forecast From GFI Software

GFI Software : 28 October, 2010  (Technical Article)
Producers of Vipre antivirus software details how computers are likely to be exploited during the Hallowe'en period
GFI Software's security research lab has issued a warning regarding Halloween-themed malware attacks as the holiday approaches. GFI Labs, the dedicated malware research centre of GFI Software, warns that cyber criminals are using the Halloween season to lure unsuspecting adults and children into allowing malware onto their PCs.

Data from GFI Labs' ThreatNet, a monitoring system that retrieves real-time data from tens of thousands of machines running VIPRE antivirus software, shows an increase in the number of Trojans circulating in the pre-Halloween period this year. Eight of the top 10 threat detections currently spreading on the internet are Trojans, up from six during October last year. Furthermore, three of the top 10 threat detections from last year's Halloween season are still on the list, highlighting the lasting impact of this type of malware long after the holiday is over.

According to GFI Software, a leading IT solutions provider, consumers should be on the lookout for new iterations of the following common types of attack:

1 Halloween Tweets, "likes" and posts on various social media sites that can be used to lure users to malicious websites.

2 Search engine optimisation (SEO) poisoning, in which links to malicious Web sites show up in search engine results for holiday items.

3 Halloween-themed attachments posing as invitations, greeting cards or documents. Clicking on these creates a significant risk of downloading rogue security products or other malware.

4 "Typo attacks" which take advantage of the increased Holiday traffic to commonly misspelled URLs. Malware writers set up spoofed infected sites and download locations to trap unsuspecting web users who misspell URLs and end up in the wrong place.

5 Sites that offer contests attempting to get visitors to subscribe to questionable subscription services that are billed to their cell phone monthly.

"Like any holiday, Halloween presents opportunities for malware distributors to gain an extra edge over an unsuspecting public," said Tom Kelchner, Communications and Research Analyst at GFI. "Users should be more careful than ever when interacting with web sites unless they are positive that it comes from a trusted source."
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