Australia faces major Internet security threats from online scammers, according to a recent Symantec security report. The country has been identified as one of the top ten global targets for social media scams and cyber crimes due to the better paying capacity of Australians.
The 2016 Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) of Symantec reveals that cyber criminals have undergone major organisational shifts and are now creating not only professional businesses, but also adopting corporate best practices in order to improve the efficiency of their attacks against companies and consumers. The new breed of professional cyber criminals envelops the ecosystem of attackers, increases the reach of enterprise and consumer threats, and encourages the development of online crime.
The Symantec Global Intelligence Network is composed of more than 63.8 million attack sensors located across 157 countries, which record thousands of events per second. The network covers mobile devices and the Internet of things, data breaches and privacy, cloud and infrastructure, social media scams and email threats, web threats and targeted attacks.
Here are some key figures in the ISTR 2016:
Over 430 Million New Malwares – Malicious programs have reached an astonishing rate of more than 430 million unique forms. This is up by 36 percent from the previous year. Cybercrime has now become a part of the daily online struggle. It continues to accelerate and goes beyond state and national borders.
54 New Zero-day Vulnerabilities Discovered – An unprecedented 54 Zero-day vulnerabilities have been recorded last year with an average of one attack per week or 125 percent increase from last year. Zero-day is a term that describes the vulnerability affecting software developers that give them zero-days to release a patch to keep users protected. Adobe Flash is the most vulnerable program having four of the five most exploited Zero-day vulnerabilities in 2015.
Over 500,000,000 Personal Records Stolen – Over half a billion personal information records have been stolen. The largest number of breaches concern the health services sector, which involves 39 percent of all personal identity breaches.
Spear-Phishing Campaigns Increase – Email remains the primary medium for cyber criminals. Spear phishing attacks are up by 55 percent and are targeting multiple industry sectors, including government organisations and financial companies. Attackers utilise specially crafted email messages that look legit luring employees to download attachments that result in malware infection, credential theft, or both. The hackers can then gain access to the corporate network, steal financial assets, or compromise the operational systems.
Fake Technical Calls – There are fake technical support scams that fool victims into calling them directly. Scammers trick people with virus alert pop-ups that try to scare them about serious system errors, prompting the victims to call a toll free number, where a tech support representative will try to sell the hapless customer dubious services. According to Symantec, it has blocked 100 million attacks of this kind of modus last year.
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