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Trojans At Forefront Of Online Threats

A PandaLabs report identified trojans and adware/spyware making up over half of the malicious code detected by Panda ActiveScan in 2006. Adware and spyware accounted for almost 40 percent of the total detected and trojans alone accounted for 17 percent of all malware.

Thanks to the Internet, creators of malicious code have ample opportunity to benefit from fraud and identity theft. trojans and spyware are preferred due to the ease with which they can remain hidden in users' computers.

The 2006 ranking was topped by adware and spyware. Both these malware types are based on advertising and collect private data from infected users including information from website viewing and online store transactions. This information is then used for tailoring advertising to user preferences. Due to the lack of consent by users such practices are dubious in legality.

From the spyware the firm detected in 2006, the most frequent was Gator - an adware, which offers an application for free use following the user's consent to view pop-up messages in succession. Certain versions of Gator replace banners on webpages with the ones created by the malicious code itself.

Next are Wupd and Ncase that are placed second & third in top ten. Both are similar in offering an application's free use to display advertising messages.

Trojans responsible for 17 percent of detections increased by almost ten points in the Q4 2006 compared to the previous quarter. Extremely dangerous, this malware functions without being detected on infected systems. Currently, it mainly steals passwords from financial operations for unauthorized access to users' bank accounts.

In addition the firm also found dialers, backdoor Trojans, bots and worms continuing to remain threats to users throughout the year.

The intentions of malware creators are more obvious each day. From seeking fame they have graduated to profiting from Internet fraud, as stated by Mikel Perez, Head of Panda Lab's Malware Detection Department in a company press release on January 16, 2007.

His recommendation to ward off this type of fraud is with constant protection of a reliable anti-virus solution with firewall and identity protection systems.

Related article: Trojans to Target VoIP in 2006

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