Cyber criminals turn professional

Attackers are become increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to con computer users, according to security firm Symantec.

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By  Michele Howe Published  September 23, 2007

Cyber criminals are becoming ever more business-like in the way they devise, develop and deploy malicious attacks on computer users, according to the latest internet security report from Symantec.

While cyber crime continues to be driven by financial gain, cyber criminals are now using increasingly professional methods, tools and strategies to conduct malicious activity, the security software maker said.

"In the last several internet security threat reports, Symantec discussed a significant shift in attackers motivated from fame to fortune," Symantec Middle East and North Africa regional director Kevin Issac said.

"The internet threats and malicious activity we are currently tracking demonstrate that hackers are taking this trend to the next level by making cyber crime their actual profession, and they are employing business-like practices to successfully accomplish this goal," he added.

One of the new methods cyber criminals are using to try and dupe computer users is to exploit vulnerabilities in trusted sites, such as social networking site Facebook, said the firm.

Criminals are also carrying out more multi-staged attacks, according to the findings. These consist of an initial attack that is not intended to perform malicious activities immediately, but instead to deploy subsequent attacks.

The UAE currently ranks 40th in a global listing of countries as an originator of cyber attacks, up six places from the last report, according to Symantec.

The country is also one of the prime targets for malicious online activity, in part because of its growing adoption of broadband, which makes it more vulnerable to attack, Symantec said.

Symantec's semi-annual Internet Security Threat Report is based on data collected by the security firm from more than 40,000 sensors deployed in more than 180 countries in addition to a database.

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