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Viruses Make Leads through Social Networking Sites

Virus authors are making hay from social networking websites by spreading their malware through them, according to a year-end report published by security firm Ironport Systems.

Tom Gillis, Vice President of Marketing for IronPort, marks 2007 as a "turning point" in representing how viruses and their notorious developers have improved, as per the news published by INQURER.net on December 30, 2007.

Gillis explained that at a time when malware creations seemed to have hit the plateau, innovative attack strategies have exploded. Some are so complex that they are obviously not the creations of novices, as only sophisticated research and dedicated efforts can develop them.

Modern day malware employs characteristics of social networking sites hosted over Web 2.0. Recent malware, like the "Storm" Trojan, is highly adaptive, collaborative, and intelligent. It eludes the radar and rests in corporate or domestic PCs undetected for months or even years.

The advanced Trojan variants and other malware are highly target specific and short lived. Thus, it makes them all the more hard to detect. The old mindset of ignoring malware that they do not show up will no longer be valid.

In 2007, viruses shall be highly "polymorphic" and will typically be associated with the incredibly sophisticated botnets, which are infected PCs used for the proliferation of viruses, like "Storm" and "Feebs". Ironport reported having detected over six Feebs virus variants, with each having the capacity to spread exponentially before their signatures could be taken.

The duration for any attack technique too has decreased substantially. Earlier, a spammer would make use of a single technique, like taking cover of embedded images for long months. In 2006, 'image spam' was the favored new technique. But in 2007, over 20 different types of attachments were employed in an array of short-span attack techniques, according to Ironport.

Ironport said that spam volume has increased by 100%, numbering in excess of 120 Billion spam messages delivered daily around the world. That counts to nearly 20 spam messages per day for every person on this planet. Previous spam attacks were only confined to selling some product, but new versions are getting increasingly dangerous.

Related article: Viruses Pose Biggest Threat to Asian Companies

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