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No one is safe

Posted by: iExperience

iExperience

Anonymous hackers, an Internet meme originating in 2003. This group is involved in some of the most memorable hacks.

What would cybercutlture be without hackers? That’s like asking what the world would be like without the baddies. As threats are becoming more widespread online, more people are falling victim to attacks. Computer security firms have also found that hackers are becoming smarter, targeting users on a number of different platforms.

 

Inspired by the recent hacks of Sony Online Entertainment, I decided to do a bit of digging into the topic. WOW, was I surprised by what I found!

 

According to Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report, hackers are ramping up the sophistication and frequency of attacks on businesses, government and ordinary people who happen to open up a bag of worms (literally) when they click on the wrong link or open a corrupt e-mail.

 

Symantec’s report showed that they encountered more than 286 new computer threats on the Internet last year. Social networking sites seem to be the preferred platform for hackers and there is “a notable shift in focus” of hackers to mobile devices.

 

Malicious smartphone apps:

 

In March, the largest attack on smartphones occurred. PandaLabs, virus research laboratory and security firm, found that seemingly genuine Android smartphone applications manipulated with a malicious “Trojan” threat were downloaded more than 50,000 times in a 4-day period. To make matters worse, the assault was launched from Android Market, the official app store for this operating system.

 

“The Trojan steals personal information from cellphones, and downloads and installs other apps without the user's knowledge,” PandaLabs said.

 

Luckily, Google was able to restore order by removing the malicious apps from the store and users’ phones within a few of days.

 

Social networking hacks:

 

Due to the increasingly popular use of social networks, cyber criminals are also infiltrating news-feed capabilities of such services to distribute attacks and viruses to a greater number of people.

 

This process usually involves gaining access to one person’s account and sending a link to a corrupt site, on their behalf.

 

These corrupted links have exploded since the recent death of bin Laden and the proliferation and dissemination of news on natural disaster on social networks in the past. The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, was no exception to the rule when, earlier this year, his Facebook fan page was hacked into.

 

The broader picture:

 

Within the first three months of this year, PandaLabs logged on average 73 000 news snippets of malicious computer code a day. This is a 26 percent jump in these months from comparative figures of 2010.

 

Research suggests the primary motive for most malicious codes are to gain access to private banking information. Interestingly, PandaLabs identified China, Thailand and Taiwan as the countries with highest infection rates. Their report stated that nearly 70 percent of the computers in these countries are infected by malware.

 

Attacks on government and companies are also growing. Sony captured headlines because it is a well-known consumer brand around the world but they have not been the only ones. Last month Epsilon, an online marketing company, was hacked into. Hackers managed to steal personal information of customers from Best Buy, J.P. Morgan Chase and other firms.

 

Nasdaq’s servers were penetrated by hackers in February as well. The stock exchange business, confirmed that communications for about 300 major corporations were jeopardised, however, according to the company, the breach did not affect stock trading, and resulted in no stealing of customer data.

 

Wired.com reported that the US Congress and assorted government offices were attacked about 1.8 billion times each month. According to Symantec Security Technology and Response senior vice president Stephen Trilling, the onslaught of these ‘hacktivists’ could threaten the infrastructure of nations.

 

Related news articles:

 No one safe from targeted attacks

PlayStation Network Hack Leaves Credit Card Info at Risk

Anonymous says Sony accusations over PlayStation Network hack are lies

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