Trojans stampede across the web

A security firm has warned that websites concealing malicious Trojan code are increasing in number faster than ever before, Computing reports.

Websense Security Labs reported that a high percentage of malicious sites contain so-called Trojan horse downloaders, and banking Trojans designed to create backdoors through which personal data can be sent to hackers.

In a bid to entice users to visit these sites the web criminals typically use spam email or instant messages.

Websense warned that users should watch out for music-related dedication emails, greeting cards, IT security warnings and fake banking emails.

In the first two weeks of July Websense said it detected 100 malicious websites and 100 unique Trojan horses.

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Attackers tuck viruses into fake e-mail greeting cards
Online July 20, 2005

According to Internet security vendor SurfControl PLC, attackers are increasingly using fake e-mail greeting cards as a way of getting malicious software installed on computers, PC World reports.

In fact, the amount of malicious e-mail being disguised as e-mail greeting cards is up about 90 percent from last year and now makes up more than half of all malicious e-mail being sent, according to SurfControl.

Overall, malicious e-mail was on the rise during the second quarter of 2005. SurfControl said its e-mail filters tracked about 30 percent more such messages than during the same period last year.

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iTunes worm drops adware
Online July 21, 2005

An initial signal indicating that Apple's success with iTunes may soon attract hackers has emerged, Computerworld reports.

A new worm, Opanki.Y, is circulating online. It poses as an iTunes file and is spreading using AOL Instant Messenger. While it does not affect Mac users, it does affect most breeds of the Windows OS.

The worm poses as a file named "iTunes.exe" in an attempt to trick users, "into thinking that this worm is associated with a legitimate product," security firm Trend Micro warns.

When activated the worm sends a message to all online contacts of an affected user, which reads, "this picture never gets old". Each message has a link to a URL where users download a file that appears to be a JPEG.

Also when activated, the software will begin to download spyware and pop-ups. It also tracks Internet sites infected users visit.

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ISPs versus the zombies
Online July 19, 2005

Internet service providers face mounting pressure to keep their networks free of pests--not only for the benefit of their customers, but also for the good of the Internet in general, CNET reports.

In the next few months, ISPs in the United States will begin receiving reports on the zombies, or PCs open to control by hackers, that lurk on their networks. The data will be sent out by the Federal Trade Commission, which said in May that zombies have become such a serious problem that more industry action is required.

The FTC has called on ISPs to identify zombies on their networks, quarantine those hijacked PCs and help customers clean them. Consumers and Microsoft are also urging service providers to act.

Analysts said that if service providers resist the call and take a hands-off approach, people could lose their trust in online activity--and the consequences of that could be severe.

"The Internet would eventually grind to a halt," said an analyst with Forrester Research.

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