Cyber criminals: more tenacious than ever before
Every day more and more computers get infected with malware. Last year hackers managed to create more than 317 malicious applications. Looking at the impressive numbers, one might think that systems are attacked with perfected viruses which are impossible to stop. While in some cases this is true, cyber crooks mostly already known malicious software. That is not to say that hackers do not create new viruses. They obviously release new threats every day and are very successful in spreading their malware around.
Image: Charles McLellan/ZDNet
Some of the new methods used to infect computers are quite ingenious and thus, very dangerous. Digital extortion became very popular and affective way to obtain money. Usually private information is stolen from a PC and users are required to pay ransom to get it back. Social media also makes users extremely vulnerable. Users themselves help the attackers by sharing videos, stories, etc. and this way ensuring the quick spread of the infected links. It was also noticed that hackers became especially good at targeted attacks.
However, even bearing all of this new techniques in mind, 90 % of all the attacks are carried out using old malware. The natural question arises why the companies do not fix their security holes, if they so obviously leave them vulnerable? This looks especially confusing after a year so full of the high-profile attacks against Sonny and other well known corporations.
As per the latest reports from Symantec and Verizon, the companies seem to lack both manpower and time to really protect their systems against the attacks. Furthermore, the report claims that lately cyber criminals are indeed much more active than any time before. According to the recent data, the internet attacks grew by 40% the previous year. This means that five out of six big companies were attacked last year.
The most targeted sector was mining industry. One of the examples presented by Symantec executive Samir Kapuria, explains how hackers infiltrated energy company and stole an important report which indicated that a new drilling spot was discovered. Attackers attempted to sell the gathered information in the black market. Luckily, the company managed to convince the potential buyers that the provided data was incorrect, by operating under a pseudonym.
Nowadays, cyber criminals are indeed very prosperous. Turns out that after a wave of spam emails is released, the first victim appear only after 82 seconds. In other words, this kind of attack becomes successful in 82 seconds. Moreover, after one successful attack on a specific type of organization (bank or film studio), hackers will use the same technique to attack other similar companies in the industry in the next 24 hours. Now more than ever before, hackers seem unstoppable.