Cyber Crimes More Targetted - Symantec

Silicon reports that cyber criminals are stepping up smaller, more targeted attacks as they seek to avoid detection and reap bigger profits by stealing personal and financial information, according to a report issued on Monday.

Symantec's Internet Security Threat report said during the second half of 2005 attackers continued to move away from broad attacks seeking to breach firewalls and routers and are now taking aim at the desktop and web applications.

The latest report from the world's biggest security software maker said threats such as viruses, worms and Trojans, which can unearth confidential information from a user's computer, rose to 80 per cent of the top 50 malicious software code threats from 74 per cent in the previous six months.

Scams such as phishing attacks, which trick users into revealing information such as passwords, credit card information and other financial information, also rose, the report said.

Between 1 July and 31 December, phishing attempts made up one in every 119 processed email messages, the report said. This translates into an average 7.92 million phishing attempts per day, up from 5.70 million in the first part of the year.

The number of computers infected by botnets fell slightly but on average Symantec observed 1,402 denial of service attacks per day utilising botnets, representing a 51 per cent increase over the prior reporting period.

China is also fast turning into a major source of botnet attacks, probably due to the rapid growth in broadband internet connections there, the report said.

During the last six months of the year, botnet attacks originating in China soared 153 per cent, which is 72 percentage points above the average increase, the report said.