Symantec Internet Security Threat Report Volume XIV Highlights Security Trends for 2008
Article by George Norman
On 14 Apr 2009
Symantec, security software developer better known for the Norton security suite, has recently released its latest report detailing the main security trends for 2008 – Internet Security Threat Report Volume XIV. According the report the number of security holes detected in software applications saw a considerable increase and so did the number of online attacks exploiting vulnerabilities in browsers which allowed a person with malicious intent to get the browser to download malware (without the user being aware of it, of course).

Vice President with Symantec Security Technology and Response, Stephen Trilling comments: “As malicious code continues to grow at a record pace we’re also seeing that attackers have shifted away from mass distribution of a few threats to micro-distribution of millions of distinct threats. Cybercriminals are profiting from creating and distributing customized threats that steal confidential information, particularly bank account credentials and credit card data. While the above ground economy suffers, the underground economy has remained consistently steady.”


Even if you keep your browsing habits relatively safe, and by that I meant visiting only trusted sites, your security is not guaranteed by the fact that you are not visiting some obscure site – and we have the recent Paul McCartney official site being compromised as an example (details here). “The unfortunate reality is that innocent Web surfers can visit a compromised website and unknowingly place their personal and financial information at risk. Computer users have to be extra vigilant about their security practices,” explains Executive Director, Marc Fossi.

Here are some other highlights from Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report Volume XIV:
- A total of 1.6 million individual malicious threats were discovered in 2008. Over the past 27 years Symantec has detected 2.6 million malicious threats – 60% of that total number was detected in 2008 alone.
- The primary vector for malicious activities remain web-based attacks. 63% of vulnerabilities detected in 2008 affected web applications.
- Countries from Europe and Middle East Asia counted for 45% of the worldwide total of web-based attacks.
- Bot counts have increased 47% compared to 2007 (32,188 active bots detected per day in Europe and Middle East Asia).
- The Conficker worm infected more than 1 million individual computers by the end of 2008.
- Spam saw a 192% increase, reaching a total of 349.6 billion spam messages in 2008.
- Phishing website hosts increased by 66% compared to 2007 (55,389 phishing website hosts detected in 2008)

If you would like to take a look at the Internet Security Threat Report Volume XIV, you can do so here (PDF warning).

Tags: Symantec, Internet Security Threat Report Volume XIV
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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