cyber-crimeAccording to the antivirus maker Symnatec, 87% of e-mail traffic in the past year was spam. This constitutes over 40 trillion spam messages and of these 40 trillion, 2% were found to have malicious malware.

While at first this does not sound like a large number it should be known that this is a 900 percent increase from last year.

Malware can search computers for bank information and personal details, or hijack computers to become a spamming army of zombie “botnets.” The worst thing of all is that, often, all of this happens without the user even noticing.

Within the past year there has been a specific increase in the amount of people who have had their Facebook or Twitters accounts hacked into.

One of the most alarming incidents in 2009 for governments and policy makers was the July 4th attacks on U.S. governments sites, such as the White House, the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq — followed a few days later by similar attacks on websites in South Korea.

According to a research paper by antivirus maker McAfee, both attacks were made by the same “botnet army” of 50,000 computers, which spammed targets with so many e-mails their IT systems were overwhelmed and subsequently crashed.

Looking ahead to 2010, antivirus maker Trend Micro predicts that there will be more attacks on Mac operating systems. Previously ignored by malware makers because of its relatively low market share, the booming popularity of Apple iPhones that run on the Mac operating system, it’s drawing the attention of cyber criminals.

The introduction this year of domain names in languages other than English — such as Russian, Chinese and Arabic — will also expand the hunting grounds for cyber crime, Trend Micro reports.

(Via CNN)

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macvirusA group of Russian spammers paid hackers 43 cents for each Mac computer infected with a virus, showing that Macs have become a target for the spammers.

Sophos researcher Dmitry Samosseiko explains that this Russian spamming mob,¬† “The Partnerka,” collects hundreds of thousands of dollars from infecting computers with malware or what he calls “scareware.” A portion of this group is directing their efforts at Macs.

“Mac users are not immune to the scareware threat,” said Samosseiko in the research paper that he released at the Virus Bulletin 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland. “In fact, there are ‘codec-partnerka’ dedicated to the sale and promotion of fake Mac software.”

Hackers are offering 43 cents for each malicious install on Macs.

“The growing evidence of financially-motivated criminals looking at Apple Macs as well as Windows as a market for their activities, is not good news — especially as so many Mac users currently have no anti-malware protection in place at all,” said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant at U.K-based Sophos, in a blog entry Thursday.

Although rare, Mac threats do exist and should be explored by Apple. Until then, be careful what you click on.


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snow-leopard1Mac users are all in a buzz about the latest Mac operating system release, Snow Leopard. However there are already growing compatibility and security concerns. According to Trend Micro, one of their researchers have discovered several websites advertising free versions of the new Mac operating system that actually download malware viruses into the users computer. Specifically the virus is a DNS changing Trojan called OSX_JAHLAV.K. According to Trend Micro, the virus¬† may also be downloaded without the user’s knowledge following a visit to a malicious Web site.

Trend Micro’s Bernadette Irinco stated,”Once executed, OSX_JAHLAV.K decrypts codes, which include a script that downloads other malicious scripts…the said script then alters the DNS configuration and includes two additional IP addresses in its DNS server. Users are thus possibly redirected to phishing sites and other fraudulent sites. In fact, some of these bogus sites are reportedly hosting FAKEAV (rogue antivirus) variants and components.”

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