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Trojans dominate as primary IT threat

BitDefender UK : 06 February, 2009  (Technical Article)
E-Threat Landscape Report from BitDefender identifies 2008 main threat as Trojans and predicts move during 2009 towards stealth and automation
According to BitDefender's latest E-Threats Landscape Report, more than 80 percent of malware distributed worldwide in 2008 consisted of Trojans. This second report, provides an 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 analyzed 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 2,000 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 percent

• JavaScript exploitations via SQL injection tripled in volume

• 75 percent 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 U.S. invasion of Iran, the 29th Olympic Games and the U.S. Presidential Election

• Plain text comprised 80 percent of e-mail spam, while image spam dropped to only 1.5 percent

• The number of spam e-mails containing infected attachments or linking pages prompting users to download malicious programs increased 400 percent

• The countries most affected by e-threats included France, China, United States, Germany and Spain

• Nearly 70 percent 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 Report is 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 percent 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.

• Smart phones and other intelligent high-end devices with permanent Internet access will be targeted by new generations of mobile malware

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