Hackers continue to exploit vulnerabilities in mainstream programs

02 Aug 2010
Virus News

Kaspersky Lab announces the publication of its Monthly Malware Statistics for July 2010. The report includes two ratings: the first lists the top twenty programs most commonly detected and blocked on users' computers, while the second lists those encountered most frequently on the Internet.

The Company's analysts noted the widespread use of exploits targeting vulnerabilities in software such as Windows operating systems, Adobe products and the Java platform. The hackers and virus writers exploited both vulnerabilities that had been patched by vendors, as well as those for which no patch currently exists. Exploits were particularly prevalent on the Internet and accounted for half of the entries in the Internet-borne malware rating. The rest of that rating is made up of intermediaries designed to spread other malicious programs and that often work in conjunction with exploits.

The two Top Twenty ratings show an obvious trend towards the use of malware that exploits software vulnerabilities in order to gain access to users' computers without their knowledge. Infection occurs surreptitiously upon visiting what, at first glance, appears to be a perfectly safe website. Such underhand tactics are particularly useful for stealing financial data and carrying out other illegal activities.

Stuxnet also has a Windows vulnerability to thank for its recent popularity. The Internet worm, which has risen to prominence in the last few weeks for threatening corporate IT systems, self-propagates via USB devices using a previously unknown vulnerability in Microsoft operating systems.

The July ratings also saw the Virut and Sality viruses, along with the notorious Kido worm, remaining among the most popular programs to be detected and blocked on users' computers. The fact that the top twenty malicious programs detected on the Internet included twelve new entries suggests that, regardless of the time of year, the cybercriminals are as relentless in their destructive efforts as the antivirus industry is in combating them.

The full version of the malware statistics for July can be found at Securelist.com.