Malware attacks on the rise

Security experts warn of rising Internet threats as number of Web sites containing malicious exploits continues to grow, and advise computer users to adopt safe surfing habits.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

Malware exploits are on the rise, and the figures are projected to grow.

In a report released Tuesday, CA predicted that malware will increase by 132 percent this year compared with 2006.

According to the software vendor, Trojans made up the bulk of malware--65 percent--sent from January to June this year.

Another security report by Secure Computing had a similar finding. The security company found 78 percent of all newly discovered malware in August to be Trojans.

Spam, fueled by a recent resurgence of the Storm worm, has been identified as one of the reasons for the proliferation of malware.

The Storm worm has been sending out a huge number of fake greeting card and YouTube video e-mail messages, with links to Web sites that would download malicious trojans to the user's PC.

Secure Computing estimates that over 50,000 malicious sites have been used by the Storm worm to host the Mpack exploit toolkit--a malware kit used to steal confidential data, such as in the recent attack on the Bank of India's Web site.

This mode of sending users to malicious sites appears to be gaining in popularity, as the Storm worm was no longer being distributed via PDF spam by the end of August, according to Secure Computing.

CA predicts that Trojans will enjoy rising popularity amongst spyware coders, which has been used to gain access into systems, so far. "The versatility of Trojans has clearly made them the tool of choice for malware authors," the report stated.

Brian Grayek, CA's vice president of threat research, warned against negligence by Internet users on seemingly-innocuous activities, such as visiting social networking sites, because of the growing presence of malware embedded in such sites.

"It's especially important to teach younger users about protecting personal information and handling cyber bullies, because even though they may be more adept at using the Internet than their parents, they tend to be far less diligent about practicing safe online computing," Grayek said.

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