Cyber criminals have increased their focus in targeting individuals and organisations of all sizes to steal personal and financial information according to the security roundup report for the second quarter of 2012 released today by the global cloud security leader Trend Micro Incorporated (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704).

Among the examples of these increasingly focused attacks were the 142 million threats which were blocked from infecting small businesses as of the second quarter of 2012, an increase of 27% quarter on quarter. Trend Micro’s report also outlines increasingly sophisticated attacks against individuals in the form of ATS attacks. Large organizations weren’t exempt either: the IXSHE campaign showed cyber criminals stepping up their tactics to gain access to large multinational corporations without notice.

In addition to these more targeted attacks, Trend Micro’s report shows cyber criminals continuing to cast their net widely in large-scale attacks using newer, more lethal methods. Police Trojan Attacks and the Black Hole Exploit Kit continue to target desktop systems while newer platforms such as Android are seeing an unprecedented explosion in malicious apps. Social media wasn’t exempt as cyber criminals jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon bringing tried-and-true scams to the latest social networking craze.

Across the board though, the goal is the same: to get personal data and financial information.

“The reason why criminals are focusing their attacks on stealing personal data is simple. It’s the sheer volume of people working from multiple devices that leaves them vulnerable to attacks,” said Rik Ferguson, director of security research and communication, Trend Micro. “While Trend Micro has been integral in working with authorities to break up a number of cyber criminal rings over the last year, these cyber criminals have acquired new techniques and tools from collaborating with one another to accelerate their ‘industry.’ The fact is: business is booming for cyber crime and everyone needs to take notice.”

Notable trends in Q2 2012:

  • 25,000 Android malware apps have been identified as of the second quarter of 2012, an increase of 317% over the number of samples found in the first quarter of 2012, which is compounded against the fact that Trend Micro has seen only 1 in 5 Android devices with a security app installed
  • Ransomware attacks that track a victim’s geographic location, holds the system captive and scares the victim into revealing personal information by using the victim’s local police force as a threat
  • More sophisticated attack tools, like the automatic transfer systems, allow criminals to steal banking information when they are not online
  • Organization of tried-and-true attack methods, such as the Blackhole Exploit Kit, offers technical support for criminals looking to collect personal financial information
  • The IXESHE malware targeted enterprises primarily in East Asia, with the number of C&C servers in Taiwan equaling those located in the U.S.
  • Pinterest has become the social media platform of choice among criminals; the top 5 social engineering lures being used across all social networking sites are: Diablo 3, Instagram Android, Angry Birds Space, London 2012 Olympics and Tibet

Supporting assets:

The Report is available @ http://www.trendmicro.com/cloud-content/us/pdfs/security-intelligence/reports/rpt-its-big-business-and-its-getting-personal.pdf

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