By Prince Osuagwu
Its no cheery news anyway, that NigeriaÂ now ranks 70 in the world on malicious attacks and cybercrime.
This was the result of Symantec latest internet security threat report, volume XV, released last week.
The report highlighted trends in cybercrime from January 1, 2009 to Dececember 31, 2009.
The Regional Director for Africa at Symantec, Gordon Love stated that, â€œattacks have evolved from simple scams to highly sophisticated espionage campaigns targeting some of the worldâ€™s largest corporations and government entities.
The scale of these attacks and the fact that they originate from across the world, make it a truly international problem requiring the cooperation of both the private sector and world governments.â€
According toÂ him, Nigeria ranked number 43 in EMEA and 70 in the world in 2009 for malicious activity. In comparison to the previous year, South Africa climbed seven places from 50 to 43 globally.
Also, given the potential for monetary gain from compromised corporate intellectual property (IP), cybercriminals have turned their attention toward enterprises. The report found that attackers are leveraging the abundance of personal information openly available on social networking sites to synthesise socially engineered attacks on key individuals within targeted companies.
Cybercrime attack toolkits have lowered the bar to entry for new cybercriminals, making it easy for unskilled attackers to compromise computers and steal information. Using kits like Zeus, attackers created literally millions of new malicious code variants in an effort to evade detection by security software.
Todayâ€™s attackers leverage social engineering techniques to lure unsuspecting users to malicious websites.Â These websites then attack the victimâ€™s Web browser and vulnerable plug-ins normally used to view video or document files.
In particular, 2009 saw dramatic growth in the number of Web-based attacks targeted at PDF viewers; this accounted for 49 percent of observed Web-based attacks. This is a sizeable increase from the 11 percent reported in 2008.
The report saw firm signs that malicious activity is now taking root in countries with an emerging broadband infrastructure, such as South Africa , Brazil, India , Poland, Vietnam and Russia . In 2009, these countries moved up the rankings as a source and target of malicious activity by cybercriminals.
Sixty percent of all data breaches that exposed identities were the result of hacking. In 2009, spam made up 88 percent of all e-mail observed by Symantec, with a high of 90.4 percent in May and a low of 73.7 percent in February.Â Of the 107 billion spam messages distributed globally per day on average, 85 percent were from botnets.
The Internet Security Threat Report is derived from data collected by tens of millions of Internet sensors, first-hand research, and active monitoring of hacker communications, and it provides a global view of the state of Internet Security.Â The study period for the Internet Security Threat Report XV covers January 2009 to December 2009.
Symantec is a global leader in providing security storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organisations secure and manage their information-driven world.Â its software and services protect against more risks at more points, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored.