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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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Danger lurks

http://smh.com.au/news/business/dang...?oneclick=true



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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 07:42 AM Thread Starter
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Danger lurking on web freebies
By Louisa Hearn
July 30, 2005
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Malicious intent: greeting card that was not all it seemed.
Photo: Websense
Cyber criminals have found a new doorway into our hard drives, this time under the guise of seemingly friendly community sites, blogs and freebies.

Since the beginning of the year, US security company Websense reports it has discovered more than 2500 incidents of innocuous-looking websites distributing malicious code, trojan horses and dangerous spyware designed to steal information.

"July has seen a major boom - in the first two weeks alone we found more instances than in May and June combined," said Dan Hubbard, senior director of security and technology research.

Photo albums, scrapbooks, blogs, screensavers and free greeting cards are all becoming potentially dangerous destinations as hackers and cyber criminals take advantage of a lack of security features on many of the hosting sites where they reside.

One of the sites found by Websense played music along with a greeting-card message as their computer was being infected with spyware.

But with an average lifespan of between two to four days, officials are having a difficult time tracking the origins of websites built with harm in mind.

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Paul Ducklin, head of technology, at Sophos Asia Pacific, said hackers were becoming more and more creative in their approach by mixing a variety of attacks designed to cover their tracks, spread their damage or steal from victims.

He added that it was very difficult for ordinary internet users to differentiate between malicious downloads and safe material. While no guarantee of immunity from newly created threats, a user's best defence was with a full suite of antivirus, spyware and firewall solutions, Ducklin said.

"A website URL may look legitimate, but what looks like a special interest site for say, cat lovers, could in fact spread malicious code," he said.

Ducklin added that the speed at which new threats were emerging was accelerating. "We are not talking about dozens of new trojans, but thousands and tens of thousands this year," he said.

According to experts the "creativity" of cyber criminals knows no bounds with reports emerging of even genuine websites and blogs being injected with malicious code through the response forms designed for readers' feedback.

The national computer emergency response team, AusCERT said although there were no reported instances of this occurring in Australia it had tracked plenty of reports of users falling prey to websites deliberately set up for malicious or criminal purposes.

Attacks can take a number of forms ranging from spyware to monitor financial transactions and steal from bank accounts, malicious code such as worms or Trojan horses taking over a machine to send out spam or phishing offers, dialer viruses sending unwitting users to premium-pay websites, or a combination of any these.

The Internet Industry Association said its research revealed a 50 per cent increase in ordinary viruses compared with a four-fold rise in the number of trojan attacks during the last 18 months. This was accompanied by a significant shift in motivation behind the attacks, said chief executive, Peter Coroneos.

"The activity has become noticeably more criminal and oriented towards theft and identity theft and therefore presents a pretty formidable threat to ordinary internet users." :corn


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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 07-29-2005, 10:10 AM
 
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I hate knowing that shit is everywhere.
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