Click here to close now.



Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Elizabeth White, Stefano Stabellini, Liz McMillan, Dana Gardner, Sanjay Zalavadia

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
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
It is one thing to build single industrial IoT applications, but what will it take to build the Smart Cities and truly society changing applications of the future? The technology won’t be the problem, it will be the number of parties that need to work together and be aligned in their motivation to succeed. In his Day 2 Keynote at @ThingsExpo, Henrik Kenani Dahlgren, Portfolio Marketing Manager at Ericsson, discussed how to plan to cooperate, partner, and form lasting all-star teams to change t...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, wh...
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....
SYS-CON Events announced today that Bsquare has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For more than two decades, Bsquare has helped its customers extract business value from a broad array of physical assets by making them intelligent, connecting them, and using the data they generate to optimize business processes.
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...
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...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
There is little doubt that Big Data solutions will have an increasing role in the Enterprise IT mainstream over time. Big Data at Cloud Expo - to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - has announced its Call for Papers is open. 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...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...