Home users most at risk from money grabbing hackers

Home computer users are being increasingly targeted by hackers who are trying to steal their identities, commit fraud and carry out other financially motivated crimes, according to a report released today by security specialist Symantec.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  September 25, 2006

Home computer users are being increasingly targeted by hackers who are trying to steal their identities, commit fraud and carry out other financially motivated crimes, according to a report released today by security specialist Symantec. The latest version of the firm’s bi-annual ‘Internet Security Threat Report’ claims that because home users are less likely to have established IT security measures in place, they are being increasingly targeted by attackers. According to Symantec, these criminals employ a variety of techniques to escape detection and prolong their presence on systems in order to gain more time to steal information, hijack a computer for marketing purposes (such as turning a system into a ‘zombie’ spamming PC), provide remote access, or otherwise compromise confidential data for profit. Symantec’s new report notes that home users are the most targeted attack sector, currently accounting for a massive 86% of all targeted attacks, followed by financial services businesses. Large, widespread internet worms, the firm explained, have given way to smaller, more targeted attacks focusing on fraud, data theft, and criminal activity. “Attackers see end users as the weakest link in the security chain and are constantly targeting them in an effort to profit,” said Kevin Isaac, Symantec’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Given the effect this has on our large and growing customer base, Symantec introduced new metrics to further understand how to better protect customers against these security concerns in years to come.” Specifically, attackers have begun regularly targeting malicious code at client-side applications such as web browsers, e-mail clients, and other desktop applications. Vulnerabilities affecting web applications accounted for 69% percent of all the vulnerabilities Symantec documented in the first half of this year. Vulnerabilities in web browsers have also become increasingly prominent, with 47 vulnerabilities documented in Mozilla browsers (compared to 17 in the last reporting period), 38 in Microsoft Internet Explorer (compared to 25), and 12 in Apple Safari (compared to six). The tenth volume of the bi-annual Symantec Internet Security Threat Report covers the six-month period from January 1, 2006, through to June 30, 2006. The full report is available for download here.

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