Cisco: Cyberattacks growing, looking more legit

Internet-based cyberattacks are becoming increasingly sophisticated and specialized as profit-driven criminals continue to hone their approach to stealing data from businesses, employees and consumers, according to a Cisco study released this week.

The 2008 edition of Cisco’s Annual Security Report found that the overall number of disclosed vulnerabilities grew by 11.5 per cent over 2007. Vulnerabilities in virtualization technology nearly tripled from 35 to 103 year over year, and attacks are becoming increasingly blended, cross-vector and targeted.

Cisco says its researchers saw a 90 per cent growth in threats originating from legitimate domains, nearly double what was seen in 2007. And the volume of malware successfully propagated via e-mail attachments is declining — over the past two years, the number of attachment-based attacks decreased by 50 per cent from 2005 and 2006.

This is at least the fourth study on security released this year by Cisco. Three other, conducted by an external research firm but commissioned by Cisco, assessed insider threats, data leakage and security policies.

According to Cisco, spam accounts for nearly 200 billion messages each day, approximately 90 per cent of worldwide e-mail. The United States is the biggest source at 17.2 per cent, ahead of Turkey (9.2 per cent), Russia (8 per cent), and Canada (4.7 per cent).

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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