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`Attacks for financial gains on the rise'

Our Bureau

Hyderabad , Sept. 27

NEW modes of security threat, with a focus on financial gain, have surfaced, causing huge losses, even as malicious code attacks have become rampant.

The Symantec Corporation's Internet Security Threat Report on the first half of 2005 identified new methods of using a malicious code to target desktops rather than enterprise perimeters.

These expose credit card information or banking details. Malicious codes that exposed confidential information represented 74 per cent of the top 50 malicious code samples.

The Country Sales Manager of Symantec, Mr Unmesh Deshmukh, told Business Line that the report is significant from the Indian perspective as well. For instance, the telecom sector is being increasingly targeted.

While attacks had different implications before, they are now mostly carried out for financial gain, the report points out. In India, small and medium enterprises have been targeted because they are least prepared to meet these threats, Mr Deshmukh said.

According to the study, attackers are moving away from large, multi-purpose attacks on network perimeters towards smaller, more targeted attacks directed at Web and client-side applications. As the financial rewards increase, attackers are designing sophisticated and stealthier malicious codes.

The report found that phishing attacks continue to proliferate. The volume of phishing messages grew from an average of 2.99 million a day to 5.70 million. One, out of every 125 e-mail messages scanned, was a phishing attempt. Symantec documented 10,866 new Win32 virus and worm variants. Spam made up 61 per cent of the e-mail traffic and 51 per cent of the spam received worldwide originated in the US.

Emerging trends point towards an increase in the number of attacks and threats directed at wireless networks and Voice over Internet protocol. Though mobile phones have not been impacted much, a threat does loom large, Mr Deshmukh said.

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