BitDefender’s malware survey shows E-Threats links to International Events and the Rising Popularity of Web 2.0

Fraudsters using ever more creative channels of distribution

Malware writers remain focused on web-based attacks while actively looking for new methods to disseminate their products, according to BitDefender®, an award-winning provider of innovative anti-malware security solutions.

Today, BitDefender released the results of its malware and spam survey from July through December 2009. The report highlights an increase in threats, from the exploitation of international news events to higher levels of spam being disseminated through social networking platforms; presumably fraudsters are aiming to curb their marketing costs in a down economy.

Malware Threats in Review

Over the last six months, fraudsters have continued their efforts to infect computer users in order to receive direct financial gain and/or to seize control over their victim’s machines.
Trojan.Clicker.CM holds as the number one e-threat for the second half of the year. It’s used to force advertisements inside the users’ browsers when visiting grey area websites (such as porn websites or services offering “warez” software).

The alarming infection rate reveals that malware authors are driven by profit, while cyber-criminals are motivated by pay-per-click fraud.

Along with the already “traditional” Trojan.Clicker.CM infections, Win32.Worm.Downadup has been one of the most notorious e-threats of the past six months. Malware authors’ top choice of distributing their e-threats remains the web, but

Autorun-based techniques have been rapidly gaining ground. By default, every removable storage device features an autorun.ini script that instructs the computer on which file to execute when the medium is plugged in. However, malware authors frequently tamper with the file to make it launch miscellaneous malicious applications.

Although extremely useful for non-technical computer users, the feature has been completely discarded in Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7 in order to prevent infections.

Commenting on the report, Vâlceanu, Head of BitDefender Antispam Research Lab said. “In the second half of 2009, we saw international events such as the advent of the H1N1 Swine Flu exploited to their full extent by malware authors in order to launch new infections.

As cybercriminals continue to look for ways to enhance their e-threats, now more than ever, it’s essential for computer users to make sure they have a security solution in place that can provide them with advanced, proactive protection.”

BitDefender Labs found that most web 2.0 phishing attempts in the first half of 2009 relied on social engineering schemes and speculated user naivety. The Twitter Porn Name scam is a good example. Users were invited to reveal their first pet name, as well as the first street on which they lived. These names are usually employed as backup/security questions.

Once in possession of a person’s username along with these “clues”, an e-fraudster can easily retrieve a password that he or she can later employ to access the account and send spam, access transactions, or use the account in whatever way necessary to make a profit, including demanding a ransom for release of the hijacked account.

According to Vâlceanu, the year 2009 witnessed a wide range of security threats aiming at both end-users and at corporate networks. “Extra caution and a highly-rated antimalware solution with antispam, antiphishing and antimalware modules are a must-have for anyone surfing the web in 2010.”

For more information on this survey, please visit http://download.bitdefender.com/resources/files/Main/file/H2…

BitDefender will be participating at Infosecurity Europe 2010, the No. 1 industry event in Europe held on 27th – 29th April in its new venue Earl’s Court, London. The event provides an unrivalled free education programme, exhibitors showcasing new and emerging technologies and offering practical and professional expertise. For further information please visit www.infosec.co.uk

To stay up-to-date on the latest e-threats, sign-up for BitDefender’s RSS feeds here.

About BitDefender®
BitDefender is the creator of one of the industry’s fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Since its inception in 2001, BitDefender has continued to raise the bar and set new standards in proactive threat prevention. Every day, BitDefender protects tens of millions of home and corporate users across the globe — giving them the peace of mind of knowing that their digital experiences will be secure. BitDefender solutions are distributed by a global network of value-added distribution and reseller partners in more than 100 countries worldwide. More information about BitDefender and its products are available at the company’s security solutions press room. Additionally, BitDefender’s www.malwarecity.com provides background and the latest updates on security threats helping users stay informed in the everyday battle against malware.

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For more information, visit www.bitdefender.co.uk

ENDS

Contact:

Nick Billington
BitDefender Country Manager (UK and Ireland)
Tel: 0845 130 5096
E-mail: nbillington@bitdefender.co.uk

Issued by:
Mike Ottewell
MJO PR for BitDefender UK
Tel: 0845 883 3435
E-mail: mottewell@bitdefender.co.uk

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