Technology Dec 2011
Botnet armies advancing
Cyber threats costly and mobile
“Symantec estimates more than 868,206 New Zealanders were scammed this year, resulting in $NZ288.2 million in direct financial losses plus $NZ 337.3 million to resolve and recover.”
No matter what new device, application or online service we use to download, connect and communicate, cybercriminals are right there in the digital slipstream looking to exploit our vulnerabilities.
Scams continued to escalate this year from cold-calling ‘support’ companies looking to compromise our computers to hacked email accounts urgently seeking cash for ‘friends’ in trouble and fake requests from banks or ISPs demanding log-in details to prevent account closure.
With a little common sense these cons can be consigned to the trash but the perpetrators are persistent and their methods and the tools they use increasingly covert and convincing.
Internet safety group NetSafe, claims New Zealanders lost more than
$750,000 over the past year through online ‘incidents’; 60 percent
through phishing attacks, advanced fee frauds and romance scams.
It alleges cybercrime and recovery worldwide costs $US388 billion – $US100 billion more than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined – with around a million victims every day.
Symantec found more than 286 million unique variations of malicious
software, up nearly 20 percent on the previous year. After a lull in
email spam and scams, there was a sudden burst of activity in September
with 72 percent of infections considered aggressive.
Kaspersky Labs says the encrypted botnet, which links infected computers
into a global peer-to-peer network controlled by criminals, continues to
propagate with its creators making it even more robust in October.
Safe online activity is about taking personal responsibility. One international survey showed 41 percent of adults did not have current security software; less than half checked credit card statements for potential fraud and 61 percent failed to use complex passwords or regularly change them to protect phones or PCs.
Cossey from Chillisoft, which sells eSet security software, confirms
identity theft by organised criminals trying to extort money remains the
biggest threat with a growing incidence of public email accounts being
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