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Non-professional Web Page Creation Driving Phishing & Viruses

The popular trend of 'do-it-yourself' web page creation by amateur Internet users is assisting to trigger more viruses as well as phishing attacks, reveals a new report named "Symantec Internet Security Report for 2008".

The report state that during 2008, there was a threefold increase in the total number of malware threats identified by Symantec and surged to 1.66 Million from 2007. This increase, according to Symantec Vice President Alfred Huger, is due to a rising number of non-professionals creating blogs, web pages and other online destinations, as reported by The Wall Street Journal on April 14, 2009.

Huger added that more people were setting up websites although they did not have a sound programming knowledge. According to him, since the main objective of hackers is to install viruses on users' computers, they would exploit any security flaws which are easily available on the less proficient websites.

Furthermore, 60% of the total malware threats during the last twenty years appeared in the past twelve months alone, said Vincent Weafer, Vice President of Security Content and Intelligence, Symantec, as reported by Reuters on April 14, 2009.

The report also states that attackers are replacing their spam mail method known as 'phishing,' to obtain users' personal information, with legitimate website corruption such as corrupting a local entrepreneur's site to use it for theft.

Thus, if a site is trusted, popular and receives high traffic, corrupting it could yield a huge number of compromises with just one attack, according to Symantec.

Besides, the attackers have a tendency to avoid the corporate websites as these big companies are well equipped to repair their sites quickly in case of an attack. But smaller companies' sites are not so quickly repaired, as people running them are not skilled.

Notably, the sector for financial services suffered the greatest number of phishing attacks during 2008. These attacks were responsible for 76% of the total phishing attacks almost double that of 2007. Moreover, the credit card data accounts for the most popular sale item on underground market that makes up for 33% of the total products.

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