Cisco: Cyberattacks growing, looking more legit

Sees 90 percent growth in threats originating from legitimate domains, report says

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 percent over 2007. Vulnerabilities in virtualization technology nearly tripled from 35 to103 year over year, and attacks are becoming increasingly blended, cross-vector and targeted.

Cisco says its researchers saw a 90 percent 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 percent 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 percent of worldwide e-mail. The United States is the biggest source at 17.2 percent, ahead of Turkey (9.2 percent), Russia (8 percent), Canada (4.7 percent), Brazil (4.1 percent), India (3.5 percent), Poland (3.4 percent), South Korea (3.3 percent), and Germany and the United Kingdom (2.9 percent each).

More online attackers are using real e-mail accounts with legitimate Web mail providers to send spam, which makes it harder to detect and block, Cisco says. The company estimates that in 2008 spam resulting from e-mail reputation hijacking of the top three Web mail providers accounted for less than 1 percent of all spam worldwide but made up 7.6 percent of the providers' mail traffic.

Botnets have become a nexus of criminal activity on the Internet, according to Cisco. This year, numerous legitimate Web sites were infected with IFrames, malicious code injected by botnets that redirect visitors to malware-downloading sites, the company says.

The use of social engineering to entice victims to open a file or click links continues to grow. Cisco expects that in 2009, social engineering techniques will increase in number, vectors and sophistication.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags information securitycisconetwork security

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jim Duffy

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?