One of the biggest threats of 2005 were phishers, and the growth of organised crime is only set to make this problem even bigger. Analysts say that security threats that IT managers have to deal with are morphing into larger, more devastating issues in the coming years.
IT workers have been under the gun recently, as they attempt to stave off aggressive malware, along with advanced hackers who are experts in it for the profit, rather than teens who are just trying to show off basic skills to their friends. IT also has had to deal with viruses and spam by the boatload.
2005 saw more money-driven, menacing schemes being cooked up, according to industry analysts. Richard Fleming, CTO of Digital Defense, Inc., says that things are only going to get worse.
New Only Gangs
The past years have proven to be difficult for IT managers with the birth of heightened spamming attacks and phishing. What is the driving force behind them? Money.
There are a lot of analysts out there that agree one of the most damaging themes in terms of online security is the deadly combination of phishing, viruses, spam and social engineering.
Spammers have decided to join forces with phishers, and together they are working on sophisticated schemes that can steal not only your email address, but your identity. They can also steal things like your social security number and personal financial information. Spammers and virus writers build armies of zombie machines to help them achieve this. Virus authors work hard to infect thousands of devices with viruses, which opens a backdoor for remote control. Once there are enough zombie machines, millions of pieces of spam can then be sent out with even more viruses.
Gerhard Eschelbeck, CTO of Qualys. Inc., says that 2005 was a defining year for this deadly combination of online threats. He says that this kind of thing makes for a very concentrated, potent type of attack.
In past years, the majority of spam that clogged up mail servers only contained ads for things like porn and Viagra. Now, these emails also contain viruses, which can infect computers without the user even realising. They don’t even have to select an attachment for this to happen. Viruses like this can track the users movements, and take note of things like passwords.
Phishing schemes first hit the technology scene in 2003, and it was a lot easier back then to detect which website were fake, and which weren’t. The majority of phishers relied on users to click on an attachment to gain access. Now, they don’t have to, and websites look a lot more legit.
Another security theme over the past few years has been the rapid rise of viruses. Not only does malware work a lot quicker these days, but worms find it easier to infect new computers, and even mobile phones.
Andre Yee, CEO of NFR Security, says that mobility spurs security exposure. Security managers are scrambling to try and keep up with it all. Analysts will agree that most of these threats are increasing in their maliciousness. This is mostly because the authors are now egged on not just by their friends, but by the temptation of money.
The entire threat landscape is changing, according to Timothy Keanini, CEO of nCircle. He says that they are seeing a lot more organised threats, and the frameworks for these threats look like some of their best software designer’s work, but the trouble is that it’s actually the bad guys doing it. It is that much more efficient, and that much more damaging.
The promise of financial gain for hackers makes for a scary situation for a lot of people. Steve Sundermeier, VP of Central Command, says that viruses and worms are growing at unprecedented rates, and they are a lot more difficult to detect. Nowadays, the driving factor might be money, but on the other side, people’s livelihoods are at risk.