Cisco’s latest Annual Security Report for 2009 focuses on the impact of social media on network security. It also looks at the latest trends in cloud computing, spam prevention and reveals this year’s cybercrime “winners”.
Philippe Roggeband, Business Development Manager – Cisco EMEA, highlighted the hazards of cyber attacks and their impact on social networks, as well as our roles in creating opportunities for cybercriminals.
In Cisco’s report, social media is portrayed as the new playground for cyber threats-with Facebook tripling its user base to 350 million in just one year and more companies reverting to social networks as a business tool, social media has opened up new ways of spreading malware and viruses to computers.
The Annual Security Report also provides more information on the potentially devastating combination of minor vulnerabilities, poor user behavior, and outdated security software that can dramatically increase risks to network security.
2009 Cisco Cybercrime Showcase
The first-ever Cisco Cybercrime Showcase acknowledges security professionals holding the front lines in the fight against cybercrime, while certain attacks are noted for causing significant trouble for Internet users in 2009:
- Most Audacious Criminal Operation: Zeus. A Trojan that delivers malware by targeted phishing and drive-by downloads, Zeus goes beyond login names and passwords to steal numerous online banking credentials. Affordable toolkits are enabling cybercriminals to create variants of Zeus that are difficult to detect by antivirus programmes. In 2009, the Zeus botnet infected almost 4 million computers worldwide.
- Cybercrime “Sign of Hope”: The Conficker Working Group. This group, composed of members of the security community and industry, is credited with significantly muting the impact of the network worm Conficker, which was anticipated to wreak havoc starting on April 1, 2009.
- Most Notable Criminal Innovation: Koobface. This worm regenerated itself, first appearing on Facebook in 2008, then Twitter in 2009. Koobface lures users into clicking a link for a YouTube video that launches the worm. More than 3 million computers have been infected by variants of this malware.
“Without proper cognizance of security threats, our natural inclination to trust our ‘friends’ can result in exposing ourselves, home computers and corporate networks to malware. The value of social media is becoming acknowledged increasingly by businesses, but these same organisations need to provide the proper training and education to ensure that employees avoid compromising themselves and their businesses”, said Patrick Peterson, Cisco representative.
According to the report, in 2010 spam volume will likely rise 30 to 40% worldwide over 2009 levels, with a predominant increase in developing countries, where rollout of broadband is gaining momentum. As an example, in 2009, most spam came from Brazil and not USA, as expected.
Besides cyber attacks on social networks and spam, cloud computing has become a phenomenon worldwide, with users outsourcing the hosting of vital information without asking providers about security measures.