Thursday, November 20, 2008

GCC Vulnerable To Cyber-Criminals

RISK : GCC Vulnerable To Cyber-Criminals

November 16, 2008


(Crealis) -- Global organized crime has gone high-tech, complete with auctioning sites selling malware and stolen bank card details, reports GCC regional security experts.

Organized crime is now the major driving force for illegal web activities. Due to the relative ease of operating almost invisibly over the Internet, criminal's shift from physical to cyber safe has been swift.

The rate of growth of malware has shot up exponentially in the last few years. In 2007 over 5 million unique malware samples were detected. At the current growth rate, this conservatively projects to over 230,000,000 by 2010.

A recent regional security survey conducted by Trend Micro and ITP.net revealed that in the past three months alone, 80 percent of users were affected by spam; 31 percent were affected by viruses; and 23 percent were affected by viruses and Trojans.

Startlingly, 25 percent were unaware that threats existed in the region.

The survey also revealed that, people in the Middle East are fairly knowledgeable about security threats such as spam, viruses, worms and Trojans, but only about 18 percent have heard of 'rootkits' - a set of tools that allows hackers to gain access to key root functions on a server.

"The Middle East's economic success signals a lucrative target for cyber criminals," said Ian Cochrane, Regional Marketing Manager, Trend Micro. "All attacks are financially motivated. Given the sophistication and stealth of these attacks, it is imperative that regional businesses have the right level of protection."

Web threats can be installed on a PC without the user's implicit knowledge and permission. Because 72 percent of regional employees browse web-sites unrelated to work, the chances of downloading malicious software are much higher.

Unprotected hot spots are particularly dangerous. The study shows that 73 percent of employees use laptops outside of work, increasing the chances of infection.

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