Malware infections down, but damage up

By Justin Mann on January 25, 2006, 2:16 PM
Anti-spyware, anti-phsing, anti-virus and other such utilities have made good rounds the past year, and a fully updated Windows XP SP2 workstation is usually pretty solid. It isn't all good news, though, as even though the amount of infections is being reduced, the payload dropped on the machines is more severe on average, with many malware/spyware writers targeting more specific groups, increasing the chance they will succeed. An example is e-mail trojans. In 2005, the number of infected emails was under half that of 2004. But the odds of an infected e-mail carrying a trojan that could result in a machine being totally taken over and being made part of a botnet rose.

These botnets (networks of compromised machines) were often used to relay spam. One type of spam, fraudulent emails that seek to dupe users into handing over sensitive account details to bogus websites (a practice known as phishing), grew markedly last year. In 2005, phishing represented an average of one in every 304 emails, compared to one in every 943 in 2004.
Another thing on the rise is phishing. Just about all of us have had to deal with scam e-mails or web pages before trying to lure information out of us, and as time goes on the scammers are getting better, making more realistic lures and using security flaws to their advantage more. It's likely that as a result of this, most anti-spyware and anti-virus companies will begin concentrating on eliminating phishing, which unfortunately for us is a much more crafty beast than the e-mail viruses of years past.

User Comments: 11

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AeonXX said:
If that wasn't bad enough, I learned last year that mal-ware was becoming more intelligent. Some viruses and mal-ware can be remotely patched or updated to keep ahead of a system's anti-virus solution. It seems as if there is a great deal of time, money, and effort being put into the creation of mal-ware these days. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of it was created by "the good guys," and people are being forced into paying a protection fee by buying anti-virus and firewall software. Writing mal-ware seems to be a business in itself, with convincing phishing scams seemingly raking in easy returns on the cost of hiring hackers to write the code.
JMMD said:
It's amazing how much crap is out there to infect peoples machines. Considering how careless people are on the internet it's no wonder there's so many infections.
DragonMaster said:
[quote]Considering how careless people are on the internet it's no wonder there's so many infections.[/quote]From : Microsoft Upgrade Information CenterSubjet : New Security HotfixAttached is a security upgrade for your Windows computer. Click on the file to install it.-----Click!
nathanskywalker said:
So basically, all the little threats built by people who know next to nothing, just for the sake of being stupid is diminishing. However, much more dangerous viruses, and adware programs, are being constructed by people who know how, and know what they are doing. these elite(or at least experienced) "hackers", are getting better and creating more deadly malware that could take your system down if only one get through.....wonderful....
exscind said:
Viruses and worms used to be made for fun and because people "could." Many were simply silly, and while annoying, didn't do much harm (like a pop-up message during a certain day, etc.). But it is interesting to follow how malwares have mutated into the form that we know today - one that targets specific groups/organizations with considerable damage in mind. One thing can be said though, and that is the security companies will not run out of jobs any time soon.
mav451 said:
^^ lol you're definitely right. The day that Norton & McAfee (et al.) run out of PCs to clean is the day pigs fly. I suppose news like this is always the *ca CHING* sound for these guys.
charp said:
Hmm....I think i've been phished recently.Situation: Put my motorcycle for sale on various sites in holland.Kept getting (scam) emails from guys that are interested, live abroad are always ok with the price, and they all want my info, so they can send me a check???? I've had about 10 emails with all same textual layout, same use of words. Very trivial names too . Even the same grammatic errors!!Watch out, don't give any info, i did once, thinking it was a serious buyer, receiving a check of 4,500 euro's whilethe bike is worth a max of 1600,- ?At this point i didn't redeem the check, but mailed the guy i wanted to drop the deal, then got a few threats. Finally i send it back, on the condition, i would never here from him again.Never heard of him again.Still have the bike. 've learned to be really careful online with giving personal data.
canadian said:
God, I hate getting fake ebay, amazon, and paypal emails. Even though I only have paypal.
Cartz said:
Thankfully the major credit card companies are pretty giving when it comes to dealing with phishing and credit card fraud...My girlfriend had her CC # stolen (she was running win98 and shopping online :S) and someone ran up $600 worth of long distance calls.Visa didn't even ask before removing the charges from her account, all they did was send her some information on how to protect your information online.Makes me wish other companies were so forgiving... Cell phone companies make you pay the whole shot if you have phones that were cloned. My aunt got nailed for $1500 bucks when she went overseas with her phone... She's trying to fight it in court, but doesn't look like she'll win. Imho, the cell phone company charging her is just as criminal as those who stole her phone.
djleyo said:
ahhh man!!!i work in tech support for a kwon ISP in the U.Sthis is bad for me because our cx's blame us for there spyware malware and virus infections .This means more work on trying to explain to them that we dont support those types of issues .
mentaljedi said:
Its just crelessness. I always get emails from "ebay" which aren't really real. Just delete them.
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