The H1 2010 E-Threat Landscape Report, released internet security solutions, has revealed significant changes and developments in the e-threats landscape in the UK over the first six months of 2010. The report examined data from January-June 2010 and analysed malware and spam trends with certain key findings including:
The UK ranked 3rd amongst the top global web hosting companies harbouring phishing pages behind Russia and China respectively
The UK ranked 4th, one place above USA, amongst the world's top countries hosting malware with 6% and 5% respectively
The emergence of the first viable botnet based on Twitter as social networks and Web 2.0 services become more valuable as channel of malware dissemination
Windows Autorun based e-threats now account for more than 15% of the malware total with TROJAN.AUTORUNINF.GEN in first place with 11.26%
Globally, phishing messages declined by 6% compared to the latter half of 2009.
The UK Malware and Phishing landscape
One of the most significant observations of the study is the emergence of the UK as one of the top five countries harbouring malware, which is a serious warning sign about the state of the web content based in UK. However, most of these threats are not necessarily the result of malware and phishing schemes developed in-house by UK malware authors, but rather the result of successful penetrations of UK computers and websites by international cyber-criminal gangs.
Top 10 countries serving phishing pages according to H1 2010 E-Threat Landscape Report
Web 2.0 and Social Media
BitDefender's H1 2010 E-Threat Landscape Report found the first half of 2010 saw a rise of worms and phishing attacks that exploit Web 2.0 and social media platforms. BitDefender experts believe personal information leaks will dramatically contribute to the success of various attacks, especially when data harvested from social networks is corroborated with personal blogs, career history and other relevant data. Third-party applications are expected to play an important role in social networking abuses.
"With Facebook surpassing 400 million users, most of the malware authors will focus on the social networking platform to deliver their newest payloads. Some of these attacks will focus on social engineering tricks (such as launching various malware offensives from compromised computers), while others will try to exploit different vulnerabilities or features already implemented across the platform," said Catalin Cosoi, Head of the BitDefender Online Threats Lab.
BitDefender experts warn that various exploits pointing at third-party applications have rapidly gained ground, in terms of both count and impact, which may act as fully-fledged weapons used in cyber-warfare and top-level industrial espionage. The introduction of HTML5, the upcoming major revision of the HTML standard that will add extra levels of interaction between the user and the webpage, is highly likely to be exploited by malware authors to compromise the browser security, experts advise.
Nick Billington, Managing Director at BitDefender UK added, "With the fast pace of change in the e-threat landscape and the increasing flow of information on Web 2.0 and social networking sites, it's important to stay up to date on current and emerging threats, as well as having comprehensive internet security protection, not just basic antivirus, on your computer."
Windows Autorun posing greater risk
Exploiting Windows' Autorun feature - Trojan.AutorunINF.Gen ranked first in the study, with more than 11 percent of the total number of infections, while MBR worms have made a comeback with upgraded viral mechanisms. Late January saw the emergence of Win32.Worm.Zimuse.A, a deadly combination of virus, rootkit and worm. Upon infection, the worm would start counting down the days. 40 days from the infection, it would overwrite the hard disk drive's Master Boot Record, thus rendering the OS unable to boot.