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November 11, 2010

Web attacks more blended, sophisticated, targeted: Websense Report

Majority of attacks in 2010 focused on stealing data

By CBR Staff Writer

The modern Web threats such as Aurora, Stuxnet, and Zeus infiltrate organisations through a variety of coordinated tactics, in a combination of two or more, according to Websense 2010 Threat Report.

The report said that phishing, compromised websites, and social networking are carefully coordinated to steal confidential data and cybercriminals and their blended attacks are taking advantage of security gaps left open by legacy technologies like firewalls, antivirus, and simple URL blockers.

The Web threats are no longer binary files delivered in attachments, but are script-based attacks and are embedded in rich media like Flash, and are spread rapidly on the social Web.

Moreover, reputation filters provide zero security for threats delivered via top ‘legitimate’ websites like Google, Facebook, and YouTube, where 80% of Web traffic goes.

The report revealed that most of today’s blended attacks have not been previously identified, as they are ever-evolving and pre-tested by cybercriminals on common anti-virus products before they are released.

In 2010, cybercriminals adapted their strategies to address the social websites and sites with dynamic user-generated content, and the attacks are now more blended, sophisticated, targeted, and use new tricks and methods of threat delivery.

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The Websense 2010 Threat Report findings revealed that 111.4% increase in the number of malicious websites from 2009 to 2010; 79.9% of websites with malicious code were legitimate sites that have been compromised; and 52% of data-stealing attacks were conducted over the Web.

In addition, 34% of malicious Web/HTTP attacks included data-stealing code; and 89.9% of all unwanted emails in circulation during this period contained links to spam sites and/or malicious websites.

The US and China continued to be the top two countries hosting crimeware and receiving stolen data during 2010.

The report said that searching for breaking news represented a higher risk (22.4%) than searching for objectionable content (21.8%); and 23% of real-time search results on entertainment lead to a malicious link.

Further, 40% of all Facebook status updates have links and 10% of those links are either spam or malicious.

Websense vice president of business development, product management and marketing Devin Redmond said with so many intertwined vectors, these threats demand a new approach to security that looks at both inbound and outbound content.

"To protect against today’s blended and sophisticated threats, companies need to plug the spaces left by a scattershot spraying of point offerings and move to a unified security architecture that protects their content," Redmond said.

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