Kaspersky Lab Overview of the Cyberthreat Landscape During 2009

24 Feb 2010
Virus News

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of Internet threat management solutions that protect against all forms of malicious software including viruses, spyware, hackers and spam, today reveals that the number of new malicious programs detected in 2009 was virtually the same as 2008, but warns of increasingly sophisticated malware.

Kaspersky Lab reports that the number of new malicious programs detected in 2009 was virtually the same as in 2008 – approximately 15 million and each day a further 30,000 new threats are being detected. Currently Kaspersky Lab holds 33.9 million unique malicious files.

Alexander Gostev, Director of the Global Research and Analysis Team at Kaspersky Lab cites one of the most significant incidents in the IT underworld during 2009 was a slowdown in the growth of newly emerging threats. However, he is quick to point out that malware is becoming more sophisticated, along with a growth in the number of global epidemics, infected web resources (one in 150 websites is currently spreading infections), a variety of scams, and the development of malware for alternative platforms and devices, are all major sources of digital pollution.

During 2009, there were eight malware programs that affected more than one million computers, most notably the polymorphic worm Kido (otherwise known as Conficker) that reached over seven million infections and is expected to remain an active global epidemic throughout 2010. Gostev notes one positive outcome in the creation of the Conficker Working Group, which was the first example of broad international cooperation to deal with such a widespread threat. Although attracting less notoriety the Gumblar self-spreading software botnet came in waves during 2009 and affected tens of thousands of computers by re-directing Internet users from legal websites to illegal malicious servers, or redirecting to infected but legal websites.

Gostev also notes a boom in Internet-based fraud and specifically fake anti virus software, with figures from the Internet Crime Complaint Center estimating revenues from fake anti virus reaching $150 million in 2009.

Kaspersky Lab also reports the evolution of threats targeting social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, as another major trend throughout 2009. Stefan Tanase, Kaspersky Lab's Senior Security Researcher, EEMEA, explains that at the current time there is a rise in these threats to a new level, involving automated targeted attacks against users.

Looking towards the rest of 2010 Kaspersky Lab forecasts a significant increase in attacks through P2P networks, the emergence of more 'grey' schemes in the botnet services market, as well as a rise in the number of attacks via Google Wave. It is also anticipating a rise in the number of mobile device threats, exploiting the popularity of Android and the iPhone.

Magnus Kalkuhl one of Kaspersky Lab's Senior Virus Analysts explains that IT security industry has made a quantum leap in signature-based detection and proactive defence technology in recent years and today vendors are very well placed to defend against the evolution of the threat landscape.

To find out more about computer threats visit: http://www.kaspersky.co.uk/threats

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