Monday, December 04, 2006

A look at the top 10 security threats for the coming year.

Mcafee's has given a prediction on the security threats. Let us have a look at it one by one.

The number of password-stealing Web sites will increase using fake sign-in pages for popular online services such as eBay.

eBay, myspace, Bank of America, Paypal are all being used for phishing attacks. This is one of the most common way an attacker uses to steal passwords. One of the most common method used is to send the fake links in emails. And as you might be aware the recent security flaw that was spotted with Firefox 2's password manager even allows attackers to steal passwords even if the fake page is not situated on the main site.

Read about the FF2 password manager's security flaw here.

Myspace has been in the news a lot lately with the password stealing issues and phishing attacks. Who can forget the fake YouTube videos which was found at over 1500 myspace pages that lead to another site that downloaded a spyware and the over 4000 fake login pages that has been used to steal passwords.

Check out this article to see some screen shots and information about how fake login pages are used to trick users into giving away their passwords.

Also you can see some myspace security related article here, filed under "Security".

2. The volume of spam, particularly bandwidth-eating image spam, will continue to increase.

More and more Image spams are being used since they can pass through the spam scanners easily. The spam scanners read the text messages and screens it. But they can't scan an image and filter it. So more and more images are being used to send spams to emails. This also leads to increased size in the inbox.

3. The popularity of video sharing on the Web makes it inevitable that hackers will target MPEG files as a means to distribute malicious code.

If you remember it was only recently that a threat was detected in this area with the detection of the Realor worm that targets the Real Player. Attackers are concentrating more on Movie Trojans with the popularity of video sharing. Apart from targetting online videos the attackers can also upload video files which when a user after downloading it opens it in their media player, the software will automatically start downloading and installing malware or adware.

4. Mobile phone attacks will become more prevalent as mobile devices become 'smarter' and more connected.

Mobile phone attacks have already started but it is not wide spread as in the PC world. But it is just waiting to erupt. With smart phone users increasing day by day attackers will be motivated since the victims are larger in number. Already mobile phone trojans that uses JAVA has been spotted world wide. This is mostly used for monetary purposes and also can be used for blackmailing since mobile phones can carry sensitive information. BlueTooth hacking and putting spywares on the phones have all started rolling.

Read more about mobile phone trojans and protection here.

5. Adware will go mainstream following the increase in commercial Potentially Unwanted Programs (PUPs)

It is said that already 91% of the PC's in the world is infected some kind of spyware. And now a days people are downloading any softwares that looks enticing without realising the consequences. Spywares unlike viruses and trojans are not totally illegal. I mean softwares that has spywares that have been installed with the "informed consent" of an user can always escape any legal issues simply by saying that the user has accepted the terms and conditions before installing it. This happens because many of the users don't even read the terms and conditions before installing a software. Adwares, the cousin of spyware is equally a nuisance with ads popping up left right and center on your screen which not only invades the screen but also slows down the PC or may be even bring it to a stand still.

This article takes a deep look at spywares and how to stay protected.

6. Identity theft and data loss will continue to be a public issue - at the root of these crimes is often computer theft, loss of back-ups and compromised information systems.

Phishing attacks have become very rampant. Using popular websites like myspace etc:- , getting the users to download trojans that collects every information,Viruses that can wipe out a hard disk are all methods used to collect information about the user. Not just in the PC world but in the mobile phone world too.

Read this articles and stay protected:-
27 steps to prevent computer viruses.
Best Free AntiViruses.

7. The use of bots, computer programs that perform automated tasks, will increase as a tool favored by hackers.

Botnets is already widespread in the world of Trojan attacks. And most of the Trojans themselves once installed in your PC acts like bots that perform tasks. SOme of them just lay buried just to be active at a particular time to send info to the attacker and stuff. So according to Mcafee this is going to be more wide spread. One of the threats which would be be hard to detect is the combination of a Rootkit and Trojan. Hearse belongs to this class of Trojans.

Everything about Trojans and Anti-Trojans.

8. Parasitic malware, or viruses that modify existing files on a disk, will make a comeback.

This is interesting. Let us wait and watch whether this is going to happen. But even if it makes a comeback I don't think it it will be a menace since all the Antiviruses now a days are very capable of negating this problem.

9. The number of rootkits on 32-bit platforms will increase, but protection and remediation capabilities will increase as well.

Root kits are hard to detect but fortunately all the top Antivirus makes have come up with solutions to deal with this problem. RootKits as you might know are viruses that has the priveleges of the user at the root level.It simply means that that user has the administrative powers. So if a programme has the same priveleges it means that it can bury itself into the operating system's Application Program Interface (API). It will this have the power to be the middle man between the operating system and the programs that rely on it, deciding what those programs can see and do.

Rootkits are typically not malicious by themselves but are used for malicious purposes by viruses, worms, backdoors and spyware. A virus combined with a rootkit produces what was known as full stealth viruses in the MS-DOS environment.

Read more about RootKits and staying protected here.

10. Vulnerabilities will continue to cause concern fueled by the underground market for vulnerabilities.

Underground market for vulnerabilities means the way hacking tools, exploits, botnets etc:- are sold for huge amounts. There are even some IRC "ghettos" where such things are advertised and marketed. Botnets are sold at a high price to people who want to bring down a website for Dos attacks using the zombie computers and for any other malicious purposes. In Feb 06 a WMF (windows Meta File) exploit was sold for $4000 in the under ground market by some Russian hacker groups.

In Dec 2005 bugtraq mailing list reported that using the WMF exploit the site "" exploited a fully patched Windows XP system that had an updated Norton Antivirus.

According to the mailing list the site was successful in installing a .wmf virus on the system and at that time Norton did not detect it. It is a widely reported fact that there are a lot of buyers in the underground market for previously undisclosed flaws which they can use to exploit a system.