As by now, many malware gateways have been closed by security technologies, the attackers are shifting to less protected areas. The largest chances of success in this respect are offered by websites with their numerous applications. Due to this development, the experts at G Data assume that users can count on constant new and crafty malware attacks via the Internet.
Ralf Benzmüller, manager G Data Security Labs: "We increasingly expect these deceptive approaches on social networks. Twitter, Facebook, XING and MySpace are increasingly being used for phishing actions or to spread malware. However, worms that move in a targeted way through these networks, are also starting to gain momentum. Koobface is the first of many such attacks." Benzmüller immediately offers tips about how you can protect yourself against such attacks: "Of course both browsers as well as the antivirus programs used should always be kept up-to-date. In addition, any links in emails which apparently originate from friends and acquaintances should be carefully checked before you click on them, as it's precisely here that hidden dangers often lurk."
Malware barometer: malware programs at record levels, but reduced rates of increase
In the first six months of the year G Data has identified 663,952 malware items, which is more than twice as many as in the comparable period of last year. Nevertheless it is apparent that the measured rates of increase are no longer as great as in the past years.
"One reason for this is the worldwide economic crisis," says Ralf Benzmüller. "It is causing the number of orders to drop, even in the black economy, which is weakening the eCrime industry." However, even with fewer variants in fewer families, malware output is not going to fall significantly. Instead, there is a concentration in the market, with the remaining players servicing the same demand.
No more mercy: eCrime discovers Apple and Unix as new targets
These sectors too will now be filling the wallets of the writers, distributors and exploiters of malware. And once again, the occasional success of the law enforcement agencies isn't going to change anything. As before, the users of Windows operating systems remain targeted by the attackers, even if the number of malware programs aimed at Apple, Unix and mobile computers is going to increase in the near future.
New malware for smartphones and portable computers
G Data has observed a new phenomenon in the development of malware for portable computers and smartphones. Although these were for a long time a niche product, the number of new malware programs for smartphones and portable computers has nearly doubled in the first half of the year. For the first time malware targeted at mobile devices has made it into the top 5. Overall, 106 new malware programs have surfaced. Approximately 90 of these programs have no propagation routine of their own and are primarily used to send text (SMS) messages to primarily Russian and Chinese telephone customers. Only the Yxe family spreads independently via text (SMS) messages with a link to a website. The file, which is offered for download there, is signed by Symbian. Thus, as previously, the only required user action is reduced to a click.
Trends for 2009:
For the second half of 2009 G Data's experts expect a further increase in malware. Nevertheless the rates of increase should turn out to be reduced, while malware continues to flood Internet. Particularly alarming is that the infection methods used are becoming more and more mature and sophisticated, so that the risk of malware damage will increase for PC users.