According 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.