Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Harry Trott, Liz McMillan, Peter Silva, Tom Kemp

Related Topics: Cloud Security

Cloud Security: Article

The Growth of Cybercrime

More people participate in cybercrime; threats continue to grow and evolve

Cybercrime saw significant growth in 2009. It increased in prevalence and geographic spread. The only thing that didn't grow was the skill level required to participate. It was easier for non-skilled attackers to conduct sophisticated attacks because of the availability of toolkits. The increase in manpower has led to an increase in most areas of cybercrime.

The growth of cybercrime has come despite a global recession that has stunted the growth of almost every other industry. The growth of cybercrime has been fueled by an increase in Internet users, especially those in developing countries.

However, businesses can protect their information from these pervasive dangers. Understanding the threat landscape is the first step. The following highlights from the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report XV can help organizations understand just what they're up against.

Cybercrime Keeps Growing
Malicious code is as prominent as ever. In 2009, Symantec identified more than 240 million distinct new malicious programs - a 100 percent increase over 2008. Last year Symantec blocked an average of 100 potential attacks per second.

Compromised confidential information continues to be an issue. Sixty percent of all data breaches that exposed identities were the result of hacking. This problem is not limited to a few larger enterprises. According to the Symantec State of Enterprise Security Report, 75 percent of all companies surveyed experienced some sort of cyber attack during the last year.

Cybercrime is a universal problem. Attackers have moved from using simple scams to launching highly sophisticated campaigns targeting some of the world's largest corporations and government entities. The scale of these attacks and the fact that they come from all over the world makes this an international problem requiring the cooperation of the private sector and global governments.

Less Skill Is Required to Engage in Cybercrime
The emergence of attack toolkits has made cybercrime available to anyone regardless of their computer knowledge and expertise. Novice computer users can purchase a kit and almost immediately begin deploying sophisticated and varied threats. Toolkits such as Zeus can be purchased for as little as $700. Some toolkits allow customization, resulting in many variants being created. Because there are an increasing number of cybercriminals entering the space, the number of threats is increasing and the number of people being affected is increasing as well.

Underground Economy a Bull
Credit cards and bank accounts continued to be the most advertised items on the underground economy in 2009 - illustrated in part by a notable increase in credit card dumps. Such dumps, which are sometimes referred to as cloned credit cards, increased by 150 percent from 2008 to 2009.

Social engineering tactics have changed to take advantage of the evolving financial landscape. More malicious messages incorporate themes such as refinancing loans, consolidating debt, reducing credit card interest rates, etc.

Enterprises Subject to More, Targeted Attacks
Cyber attacks are not just more sophisticated, they're also much more targeted. Many of them are full-fledged yet subtle campaigns. Cyber attacks remain undetected to penetrate deeply into the corporate network. While these targeted attacks have been occurring for several years, they have taken center stage recently, with incidents such as Hydraq.

Targeted attacks use zero-day vulnerabilities and spear-phishing type attacks. Attackers usually research a company and its employees by gathering information from corporate websites, news articles, social networks and other sites. Many targeted attacks aim to steal information about the organization's customers and employees, but other information - like intellectual property and corporate strategies - are also targeted.

Web-Based Attacks Are the Biggest Threat - and Are Getting Bigger
Four out of the top five attacks in 2009 targeted client-side vulnerabilities in widely used applications such as Internet Explorer and PDF readers. Suspicious PDF file downloads were the largest threat and accounted for 49 percent of all Web-based attacks, up from 11 percent in 2008.

Web browsers are also vulnerable - of the 374 vulnerabilities documented in Web browsers in 2009, 14 percent of them remain unpatched by the vendors. Firefox had the most vulnerabilities, but Internet Explorer was the most attacked. That difference illustrates cybercriminals' infatuation with market share.

What It Means
This data, as well as other information in the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, offers a perspective that can change the way users and businesses operate. It is a framework for understanding what's out there and how to navigate it.

For businesses, such navigation includes employing strategies designed to give in-depth defense, including multiple, overlapping and mutually supportive defensive systems to guard against single-point failures in any specific technology or protection methodology. Security provided by solutions such as antivirus software, firewalls and intrusion detection are crucial if an organization wants to protect its assets and its employees.

Besides ensuring personal computers and networks are protected, individual users also need to use good judgment. If websites are untested or seem questionable, users need to be alert and perhaps even stay away from those sites. Another precaution to consider is disabling scripting and active content when casually browsing the Web.

Cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated, but knowing what they are up to allows businesses and individuals to place themselves strategically in the safest position possible. If you implement the right policies within your organization and use the tools that exist, you can help guard against malicious software and keep your organization's infrastructure, and the information within, safe from cybercriminals.

More Stories By Marc Fossi

Marc Fossi manages research and development for Symantec Security Response where his primary role is executive editor of the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report. The Internet Security Threat Report offers analysis and discussion of Internet threat activity and covers Internet attacks, vulnerabilities, malicious code, phishing, spam and security risks, as well as future trends.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Numerex Corp, a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT), will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Numerex Corp. (NASDAQ:NMRX) is a leading provider of managed enterprise solutions enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). The Company's solutions produce new revenue streams or create operating...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
Although it has gained significant traction in the consumer space, IoT is still in the early stages of adoption in enterprises environments. However, many companies are working on initiatives like Industry 4.0 that includes IoT as one of the key disruptive technologies expected to reshape businesses of tomorrow. The key challenges will be availability, robustness and reliability of networks that connect devices in a business environment. Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is expected to...
Developing software for the Internet of Things (IoT) comes with its own set of challenges. Security, privacy, and unified standards are a few key issues. In addition, each IoT product is comprised of (at least) three separate application components: the software embedded in the device, the back-end service, and the mobile application for the end user’s controls. Each component is developed by a different team, using different technologies and practices, and deployed to a different stack/target –...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today’s global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
Why do your mobile transformations need to happen today? Mobile is the strategy that enterprise transformation centers on to drive customer engagement. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Roger Woods, Director, Mobile Product & Strategy – Adobe Marketing Cloud, covered key IoT and mobile trends that are forcing mobile transformation, key components of a solid mobile strategy and explored how brands are effectively driving mobile change throughout the enterprise.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Almost two-thirds of companies either have or soon will have IoT as the backbone of their business in 2016. However, IoT is far more complex than most firms expected. How can you not get trapped in the pitfalls? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will introduce a holistic method of IoTification, which is the process of IoTifying the existing technology and business models to adopt and leverage IoT. He will drill down to the components in this fra...
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....