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New Malware Continue to Take Form

McAfee's Avert Labs has recently discovered a unique password stealer that uses Skype's network as a vector to spread. Skype, the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony provider, has no vulnerability. It is just that the Trojan uses its network as its medium to move from one point to another, said the firm's security research and communications manager, David Marcus.

The Trojan dubbed as PWS-JO records all keystrokes, saves them in a file on the PC and connects to a distant website to dispatch them to. The manner of this attack is exclusive because it's no longer confined to spammed e-mails, viruses and malicious websites for distribution.

In a blog posting, the company said that password stealing trojans reached a peak of 240% in 2006 making them the most voluminous malware along with botnets. Marcus said the firm receives an average of 8,000 to 9,000 submissions every day, of which 100 to 150 are entirely new viruses, mostly botnets and password stealing Trojans. All of them have more or less the same methods of infections.

Marcus further explained that spamming is more often through social networking sites that use browser exploits. The applications of malicious attachments are still effective, giving nearly 2% successes and that's what the miscreants aim at.

The majority of PWS-JO password stealers search for specific groups of logins. The spammers get the maximum from passwords of banks and financial institutions. Therefore, they construct programs catering to theft of those.

Most of the PWS-JO, approximately 62% of the total, targeted to steal financial information also attack gamers, as Francois Paget, researcher of McAfee, estimated an 18% of these to target login for World of Warcraft.

Around 10% looked for login information of social networking and instant messaging. Since people tend to have the same login particulars to access other lucrative sites, the theft of these particulars becomes primary to contacting other websites.

The company noticed that during 2006, the quantity of password stealers leaped from 5,000 to 12,000. Spam was the main instrument for such criminal activities. However, with increased use of new technologies, the genre of attacks has also changed.

Related article: New Zealand Releases Code To Reduce Spam

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