Five online threats to watch out for

update Internet security vendor McAfee reveals the top Internet threats for 2007, which includes spikes in phishing attacks and image spam.

update Phishing attacks show no sign of abating soon. Instead, the number of Web sites used by cybercriminals to steal passwords are soaring exponentially, finds McAfee.

According to a statement Wednesday, the Internet security vendor said that phishing sites leaped by 784 percent in the first quarter of 2007. These Web sites typically used fake sign-in pages for popular online services such as online auction sites, online payment or online banking.

McAfee forecasts that abuse of online collaboration sites, such as wiki pages and online applications, is on the rise, and notes that even Internet archive sites will be affected. The other four online threats to look out for are:

Image spam on the rise
The lastest figures from McAfee and Marshal Software suggest that image spam looks to be on the decline over the past few months. Image spam accounted for about 65 percent of all spam received for the first quarter of this year, up from 40 percent in November 2006, and was less than 10 percent of all unsolicited e-mail a year ago.

Image spam refers to "junk" e-mail messages that contain images instead of only text, and is used typically to advertise stocks, pharmaceuticals and degrees. The image is three times the size of a single message, and therefore increases the bandwidth used by spam messages.

Watch it! 

Banking on authentication
OCBC Bank says its customers are conducting online financial transactions of higher value now, thanks to two-factor authentication

Hackers targeting Web-based video
Cybercriminals are exploiting online video hosted by social networking sites such as YouTube and MySpace. For example, the Web site of a French rock band was used to load a Trojan horse onto the computers of fans by exploiting a feature in QuickTime.

Parasitic malware makes a comeback
Philis and Fujacks continue to be active, and McAfee has classified more than 150 new variants of these two families this year. Other families including Sibil, Grum, and Expiro are also active.

Parasitic infectors are viruses that modify existing files on a disk, injecting code into the file where it resides.

Rootkits to increase on 32-bit platforms
About 200,000 computers have been infected with rootkits since the beginning of this year, up by 10 percent over the first quarter of 2006.