Cyber Theft - A growing concern!

November 25th, 2008 - 4:26 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi  

MicrosoftThere is a vast increase in the number of computer viruses and designed in such a way to steal the personal information such as bank account numbers, credit cards data, said by a new search study by Microsft.

There had been attacks by many programs, which includes invisible threats such as worms and Trojan horses and they’ve jumped over 40 er cent in the first half of this year, according to the earlier report of this month.

Many of the viruses are designed to mine personal computers for data ranging from the house address to the online banking password. Moreover, others can even access and take over the computer, which hackers use to carry out other attacks, and shield their identification from law-enforcement agencies.

Personal data can be worth a small fortune in the underground economy; hackers bought and sold US$276 million (S$422 million) worth of such data from July last year to June, said a report yesterday by security company Symantec.

A malicious rise has increased in the hackers profile which moves away from the pimply teenager seeking online fame to organised crime syndicates looking for new revenue streams.

Microsoft platform strategy manager Matthew Hardman said social networking sites, like Facebook, are among the most commonly targeted because of their huge communities of users concluding by saying the malicious code may be hidden inside Facebook applications or in links under photographs.

Symantec’s regional consumer product marketing manager for the Asia-Pacific, Mr David Hall, said: ‘We have never done so much online or shared so much online. So the attackers are just going where there’s money to be made.’

Security firm Sophos’ Asia-Pacific head of technology, Mr Paul Ducklin, said that social networks are still in a ‘honeymoon’ phase. ‘So we tend to have a blind spot and are careless.’

Experts say Internet users can keep safe by being circumspect about sharing personal information, and making sure their computers have up-to-date anti-virus programs.

‘Having a lock on the door doesn’t protect your gold,’ said Mr Hardman. ‘You have to lock the door yourself.’

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