Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Cyber Criminals Find New Ways to Attack
Recent months have seen a rise in sophisticated attacks, also including so-called spear phishing, an e-mail scam targeted at a small group of people, a group of cybersecurity professionals said Tuesday at a TechAmerica cybersecurity forum in Washington, D.C. Spear phishing is a form of the common phishing scam, but instead of a fake e-mail that looks like it comes from a bank or e-commerce site, it instead looks like it comes from someone you know, such as an executive at your company.
Cyber criminals are now focusing on compromising trusted sources of information, by installing Trojans on legitimate Web sites or faking e-mail messages from people known to would-be victims, asking them for personal information, said Eric Cole, cybersecurity senior fellow at Lockheed Martin. In early 2007, two Web sites affiliated with the Miami Dolphins football team were compromised with malicious code, and earlier this year a site affiliated with rock star Paul McCartney contained malicious code.
There are tens of thousands of other legitimate Web sites infected with malware, said Uri Rivner, head of new technologies for consumer identity protection at RSA Security, a cybersecurity vendor. RSA is seeing a recent spike in compromises from the password-stealing Torpig or Sinowal Trojan, around since mid-2007, largely due to infected legitimate sites, he said.
The rule "used to be, 'don't go to the bad part of the Internet,'" Cole said. "'Don't go to those evil parts where bad things are happening.' I don't think most of us ... consider Paul McCartney a bad site."
Microsoft has seen a "tremendous rise" in rogue software being downloaded in the past year, said Vinny Gullotto, general manager of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center. In many cases, the rogue software is disguised as antivirus software and tricks people into downloading it by telling them they have viruses on their computers, he said.
Web users should only download cybersecurity software from a trusted source, he said.