Hacking on the rise

According to an IBM report there were 237 million hacking attacks from January to June this year, a 50 per cent increase over the previous half year, computing reports.

IBM's Global Business Security Index also shows one in 52 emails contained a malicious security threat in December 2004 - a figure that increased to one in 28 by June this year.

Other findings in the Global Business Security Index include:
-Governments are the most targeted with more than 54 million attacks, manufacturing ranked second with almost 36 million attacks recorded and financial services was third with a little over 34 million.

-Over the past six months, the United States was the source of the most attacks with 12 million, followed by New Zealand with 1.2 million, and China with approximately one million; Ireland was last with more than 30,000 attacks.

-Increased critical security events are seen on Fridays and Sundays.

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Phishers get billions
Online August 3, 2005

Better bank security could have prevented $2.75 billion in losses from fraudulent use of ATM and Debit cards, analyst firm Gartner alleges in a newly published study, vnunet.com reports.

The damage is a result of lost personal data that criminals obtain through so-called phishing scams and keystroke logging software. The scammers then use the stolen information to create cloned cards that are used to withdraw money.

The research firm estimates that about 3 million US consumers fell victim to such phishing scams in a recent twelve month period, resulting in an average loss of $916 per incident. In most cases banks or financial institutions covered the losses.

Gartner based its phishing damage projection on a survey last May among 5,000 adults.

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Your car could be hacked
Online August 2, 2005

Car industry officials and analysts say hackers' growing interest in writing viruses for wireless devices puts auto computer systems at risk of infection, cnn.com reports.

As carmakers adjust on-board computers to allow consumers to transfer information with MP3 players and mobile phones, they also make their vehicles vulnerable to mobile viruses that jump between devices via the Bluetooth technology that connects them.

"I'm afraid there is a risk in using a Bluetooth connection in cars," said Yevgeni Kaspersky, head of antivirus research at closely held Russian firm Kaspersky Lab.

The worst that could happen is that the computer's control of engine performance and emissions, navigation and entertainment systems cease to function. Companies so far have seen no reports of viruses in auto systems, but carmakers say they are taking the risk seriously.

"In principle it is possible to plant something (a virus), and we have been working for many years to resolve the problem," said a spokesman for German carmaker BMW.

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Worm poses as pirated games
Online July 30, 2005

The security company Sophos warns that a worm targeting gamers is making the rounds, tapping into popular titles and peer-to-peer file sharing, CNET reports.

The worm, Hagbard.A, tries to disguise itself on peer-to-peer networks as pirated downloads of the popular games titles "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas", "Need for Speed Underground 2" and 400 other programs.

The downloaded program will copy itself to the file-sharing folder on the compromised PC and attempt to spread using the Windows Messenger. An instant message sent to others on the service contains a link to the worm and reads: "please download this...its only small brb."

In addition, Hagbard puts a new twist on instant-messaging worms, because it installs a Web server program on the infected computer. That could enable malicious attackers to gain remote access to data.

Although Hagbard carries a different bite than other worms, it has not spread as rapidly as other viruses, security experts said.

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