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Malware attacks top 2011 security threats

The online security landscape this year has been dominated by high-profile hacking attacks against governments and corporations, with a new security report showing malware attacks remain the biggest the internet threat to all computer users.

IT security and data protection firm Sophos conducted its Mid-Year 2011 Security Threat Report, finding that fake anti-viruses, search engine poisoning and social networking scams have developed under the radar due to receiving minimal attention in the past.

“2011 has seen a continued massive upstick in the volume of malware in which the Web is the dominant vector for both targeted and mass-scale attacks,” SophosLabs Vice President Mark Harris said.

Search Engine Poisoning and Social Media Threats are two major concerns highlighted within the report.

Also known as Black Hat SEO, Search Engine Poisoning involves the manipulation of search results by cybercriminals from Google and Yahoo to lure web surfers to malicious pages. Hackers redirect a search for breaking news to malicious sites that contain viruses, worms, Trojans or fake anti-virus software on computers.

Social media threats have replaced email focused attacks as websites such as Facebook increase in popularity. 81 percent of respondents to the Sophos poll indicated Facebook was the biggest security threat of all social networks. Due to Facebook’s in-depth records of user personal information, 2011 has seen an increase in scam attacks. Cross-site scripting, clickjacking, bogus surveys and identity theft are few that have also emerged.

With a new unique malware threat produced almost every half second and an average of 150, 000 malware samples identified everyday, it is vital business owners understand how these new threats work and how to build proper defenses.

“The virulence of attacks… requires a prompt move by IT organizations and consumers to employ more layered Web protection and defenses to reduce the attack surface of the devices they use,” Harris added.

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Lizbeth Pal

Lizbeth Pal

Lizbeth is one of Dynamic Business' talented interns.

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