Cisco Study Reveals Targeted Attacks On The Rise, Mass Spam Declining

A new report suggests that the cyber criminals have marked a change in their work strategy as attacks become more and more customised.

Cisco Systems has claimed that web criminals have shifted from traditional way of attacking PCs; that is via spam, to attack on particular target, in order to cause higher financial impact.

The report [PDF] titled “Email Attacks: This Time It’s Personal” was released on Thursday in San Bruno, California by the general manager and vice president of the Security Technology Business division at Cisco, Tom Gillis during a media event.

"Personalized and targeted attacks are on the rise. Law enforcement efforts are making mass spam attacks less appealing to cyber criminals, who are thus spending more time and effort focusing on different types of spearfishing and targeted attacks." director of Security Technology Business division stated.

The report, which is based on the responses of nearly 361 IT experts across 50 companies, clearly suggests that mass spam has decreased to 40 billion in the month of June 2011 from 300 billion messages in June 2010, leading to 50 percent decline in money generated.

Reportedly, in over a year, while spearfishing attacks have increased three times, personalised attacks have increased by at least four times and is estimated to garner nearly 10 times more revenue than daily mass spam attacks.