It should come as no surprise, since we have had enough news circulating around us every day. Another authoritative study report on identity theft “2013 Internet Security Report Volume 18” conducted by “Symantec Security” shows a rapid increase in Identity theft, but more than this simple fact, this report reveals a sharp increase in attacks aimed at business especially small businesses.
Facts From “2013 Internet Security Report”
The report shows increase targeted attacks against database, Mac users, mobile operating system and likewise. Considerably in year 2012 the threats of cyber espionage and industrial espionage become widespread, chronic problems of malware and phishing increase to its most and a constant innovation has been seen from malware authors.
An expansion to newer forum has also been observed in the research. In particular, social media and mobile devices come out as most targeted in 2012. Online criminals used these forums to keep an eye on their target.
Most Important Trends of 2012
The report is comprised after conducting a thorough research and accounting the happening on the Internet in the whole year of 2012. Therefore the data is comprised for 2012 statistics.
Small Business are the path of Least Resistance for the Attackers
Last year data made it very clear that more than 50% targeted attacks were aimed to business having less than 250 employees, 31% of them suffered huge losses in return. According to another survey conducted by Symantec, Small business considers themselves immune from such attacks whereas, the real picture is completely opposite to this statement. For Hackers it is easy to steal money and spend it from small business as compare to large organizations and corporations.
Worse adequate security practices by small business to protect their online presence threaten them the most. One-third of these attacks were carried out by compromised websites. Supplementing their phishing attacks, cyber espionage gangs now hijack these websites and wait for their targets to visit so they can infect them. This type of attack called Watering Hole. To defeat such attacks, small business must reconsidered strong security policies.
Malware Author acts as Big Brother
In the year 2012 major 50% mobile malware were created to steal our information and track our movements. These malware means a great way to make money for cybercriminals. With this they attack our computers, laptops, mobile devices and social networks to learn our banking information, phone numbers of our friends and business associates, our personal information and even how to become us by stealing our online identity.
Creating a successful target attacks, cybercriminal need to study our day to day routine especially what websites we visit frequently. Compiling all, cybercriminals launch their attack. This attacker’s tool can pull as much information as they want. This can be years of our emails, files and contact information. They can track our keystrokes, can watch out monitor screen and the worst, they can control our device camera and microphone.
“Targeted attackers truly act as an Orwellian incarnation of Big Brother”
Mobile Vulnerabilities has no, or a little correlation with Malware Attacks
Year 2012 has seen a 58% increase in mobile malware. Whereas, vulnerabilities increased by 32% in mobile OS. Vulnerability refers to as, the ability of the OS built in tendency to defend the device from malware attack.
It has been seen that iOS has most documented vulnerabilities in year 2012 and only one threat was created for this platform as compare to Android OS which faced 13 threats during the year.
Vulnerabilities likely will become a factor in mobile malware, but today Android’s market share, the openness of the platform, and the multiple distribution methods available to applications embedded with malware make it the go-to platform of malware authors.
Attribution is Never Easy
Most Attackers designed malware and malicious virus to remain undetected. Similar nature malware named “Shamoon” was discovered in August 2012. It was purpose to wipe out the hard drive of energy companies of UAE. Eventually a company called “Cutting Sword of Justice” accepts the responsibility.
Throughout 2012, DDoS attacks were launched against financial institutions. A group called Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters claimed responsibility.
According to Symantec Analyst:
“Complicating what appeared to be simple hactivism even further is the FBI’s warning to financial institutions that some DDoS attacks are actually being used as a “distraction.” These attacks are launched before or after cybercriminals engage in an unauthorized transaction, and are an attempt to avoid discovery of the fraud and prevent attempts to stop it”.
Some hard facts for Year 2012 and start of 2013 are given as follows:
Recent research by the Ponemon Institute suggests that the cost of cybercrime rose by six percent in 2012 with a 42 percent increase in the number of cyber attacks. The cost is significant with businesses incurring an average cost of $591,780. Given the increase availability of vulnerabilities and exploits it comes as no surprise that the cybercriminals have increased their ability to make a profit
Online Security Recommendations
1: Protect yourself Against Social Engineering
It is on individual that they should protect themselves especially on Social Networks. People should learn to differentiate between the telltale signs of social engineering, which can include undue pressure, titillation or a false sense of urgency, an offer that is literally too good to be true, bogus “officials” in an attempt to make something look authentic for example lengthy reference number or received a free gift by providing certain information (personal and confidential).
2: Avoid Unsolicited Plug-ins
Completely avoid pirated software, torrents links and adult sites. Never click on any unsolicited plug-ins or executable if prompt to do so, even on legitimate websites. Always use ad-blocker software in your browser. Always keep backups and recovery disk so you can unlock the system in case of any emergency.
3: Think Before you Click
Always be Extra vigilant before opening any mail or link send by your family, friends and co-workers, especially if you have doubt on the choice of context of the person and if its differentiate be very careful. It might be the possibility that their account may have been compromised by fallen for a social engineering trick.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said:
“Just as nuclear was the strategic warfare of the industrial era, cyber warfare has become the strategic war of the information era,”
Every 1 out of 8 people are facing the dangers of Identity theft, Instead many legitimate bodies are working to stop this devilish act all over the world but it remain on its increasing path. So, in order to protect ourselves we need to be educated for all the ways by which we can ensure the safeguard of our online identity.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.