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Cyber Crime Profits Increase With Rise In E-Mail Threat Volumes

SonicWALL Inc. used its SMARTLABS network of more than one million e-mail users to gather data that indicated an increased trend of malware convergence in 2006. There has been a pooling of spam, viruses, phishing and DHA attacks making higher levels of income for Internet fraudsters.

One prevalent attack was where hackers dispatched e-mails to names randomly chosen from valid domains to determine if an e-mail address existed and was active. These attacks grew by 505.6% in 2006, finds the research by security company SonicWALL.

Spammers' most fundamental objective today is to earn profits. As said by senior director of E-mail Security at SonicWALL, Gleb Budman on January 15, 2007 in a company press release published by TechWeb, spam by the greatest proportion intend to enable a grand scale theft. Today online theft is more specialized, more treacherous and omnipresent. Individuals are the prime targets of scammers now, as they are able to make substantial money through them rather than targeting on large organizations. According to a November '06 report by Gartner Group, in 2006 phishing scam profits increased four times more from $257 to $1,244 per individual victim.

SonicWALL found the volume of 'nuisance' viruses to decline, but recorded a growth in attempts of spyware and keystroke loggers crafted to carry out theft of personal information, sensitive in nature. There has also been growth in distribution of treacherous viruses written and used to hijack PCs to use them as spam servers. Budman recalled that only a few hundred computers are required to build a 'botnet' capable of sending out hundreds of million of spam mails in just two hours. The zombie machines kick off in rapid bursts, and then become silent, keeping the infection unnoticed for a significant length of time. zombie networks are key generator of spam.

The SonicWALL data shows a 64% rise in the volume of confirmed phishing e-mails. The top ten institutions spoofed were all banks.

Budman added that apart from phishing attempts becoming more widespread, phishers are making more collective attacks in each attempt.

SonicWALL uses SonicWALL E-mail Security that combines techniques to fight virus, phishing, sm, DHA, DoS and other attacks.

Related article: Cyber Child abuser Sentenced To Imprisonment

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