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Cyber Crooks Targeting Confidential Corporate Data to Aid Competitors

A computer virus infected the internal website of a Houston-based technology company by a safe looking e-mail seen on November 7, 2008, reported USAToday on November 12, 2008.

According to the reports, some employees of the company saw that e-mail and followed the instructions to click on the link of a website. The e-mail gave the illusion of being legitimate as it was posted on the "employees-only" message box. It was also referencing the news about a popular company charity.

As the link was clicked, the virus rendered antivirus protection inactive, as stated by Don Jackson, Director, Threat Intelligence at SecureWorks, Atlanta. Jackson was investigating the case, reported USAToday.

Jackson added that the virus steadily entered and infected about 300 other computer systems in the company by quietly copying the contents of "My Documents" folder of each PC. It then forwarded the information to the cyber-criminals who were operating out of Turkey.

In another instance, in 2007, the computer systems of the executives at various big Japanese companies were found to suffer from a virus attack that spread via Ichitaro, a well-known Japanese word-processing program. Hackers illegally obtained the copies of supply contracts for a plastic research firm, an electronics manufacturer and a train producer, as per SecureWorks. These details were then given to the competitors, providing them an opportunity to weaken the well-established suppliers.

The security experts stated that some of the companies and governments are paying big amounts to obtain the confidential data of other companies. Consequently, prompted by the increasing demand, cyber crooks are seeking more and more corporate information. The data thieves have started to search for the apt business structures to convert the data stolen from companies into high profits.

According to Marcus Sachs, Director, SANS Internet Storm Center, the criminals are exploring latest ways to sell out the stolen data. Thus, it is highly possible that such attacks may become more common and their detection may turn difficult, reported tucsoncitizen.com on November 11, 2008.

Security experts said that cyber-criminals have a very clear motive. They target the data that is comparatively easier to steal, direct and control, to get higher returns in a short time.

Related article: Cyber Child abuser Sentenced To Imprisonment

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