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Stealthy Spam Cause for Greater Annoyance

Ever since Internet's rapid growth in the 1990s, there has been an alarming rise in cyber attacks, with predictions indicating a rise in targeted and financially-motivated attacks.

According to Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Eileen Harrington in Washington, spam is being increasingly used for truly bad purposes. And the malicious code converts a user's system into a spam-generating machine, says Harrington, as reported by Kval on January 25, 2008.

Harrington further said that junk e-mail is just one of the several ways through which cyber criminals load malware onto users' computers. The malware could allow a crook to hack into someone's system or enable him to steal the user's personal credentials. According to the FTC, cyber criminals are currently controlling over one million computers all over United States.

Today, any Internet-connected system, such as wireless network, modem or Intranet, is vulnerable to attacks. During the first six months of 2007, there appeared 3,273 vulnerabilities resulting in a decrease of 3.3% over the same period in 2006. However, there was growth in the rate of high-impact security flaws, from 16% in 2006 to 21% in January-June 2007.

A new statistical report on security from IBM's ISS (Internet Security Systems) X-Force research and development group indicate that 2007 had been the year with most malware, reaching record in sophistication and volume occurring in malicious codes. Further, these appeared as frequently as every month, with an annoying growth from 50% to 80% in 2007.

CEO Jorina van Rensburg of Condyn, local IBM's ISS X-Force distributor, said that moving into 2008, the X-Force team predicts a reduction in excessive growth in security flaws uncovered, a continued rise in targeted and custom malware like Trojans, and a consistent growth in obfuscation techniques to create Web-based threats. Itweb.co.za reported this on January 17, 2008.

Besides, according to SonicWALL, a security company, while conventional spam has gone up slightly in the fourth quarter of 2007, the true rise has been in Directory Harvest Attacks operated to dig out e-mail addresses. These almost became two times higher from Q3 to Q4 of 2007. Also, junk e-mail now accounts for 97% of total e-mail.

Related article: Stealthy Trojan Infects From Behind Windows, Escapes Detection

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