September 20, 2004 9:07 AM PDT

Viruses keep on growing

The volume of worms and viruses is increasing, but the rate of successful attacks has dropped, according to a new report from Symantec.

The antivirus company's biannual Internet Security Threat Report found that 4,496 new Windows viruses and worms were released between January and June, up more than 4.5 times from the same period last year. But the daily volume of actual attacks decreased in the first six months of 2004, Symantec said.

From January through June, 1,237 new vulnerabilities were discovered, with 70 percent in the easy-to-exploit category and 96 percent considered moderate or highly severe. Nearly 39 percent of the total volume of attacks were linked with Web applications.

Slammer worm was the most common attack, with 15 percent of attacking IP addresses performing an attack related to Slammer. Gaobot, also known as Agobot, and its variants increased by more than 600 percent over the past six months and took second place, the company said.

E-commerce was the single most targeted industry, with nearly 16 percent of attacks directed against it, compared with 4 percent reported during the previous six months. Symantec said the rise could possibly be due to attacks motivated by economic gain, reflected to a rising number of phishing scams and spyware. Small businesses were targeted next.

"Exploits are being created more easily and faster than ever, while attackers are launching more sophisticated attacks for financial gain," Arthur Wong, vice president of Symantec's Security Response and Managed Security Services units, said in a statement.

The security software maker said Web application technologies have emerged as attractive targets for attacks, as they are widely used in businesses and can be attacked with relative ease. Nearly 82 percent of Web application vulnerabilities were classified as easy to exploit, Symantec said.

The average number of bots jumped from 2,000 to 30,000 a day. The number of different variants of bots is rising, increasing by 600 percent over the past six months, through peer-to-peer services, Internet relay chat and network file sharing. Adware is becoming problematic, accounting for half of the malicious code submissions.

The software maker said attacks targeted at firewalls, routers and other security devices are likely to go up in future. There may also be more bot networks that employ sophisticated techniques usually difficult to detect and locate. Symantec also expects to see port knocking, which may be used by attackers to create direct connections to potential target systems.


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I read that AOL now has a "service" compatible with its' aim software that makes use of bots to make people think that they are actually talking to a live person. With AOL getting into companies that put out and use spyware/adware. Why is this not taken into consideration?

What I'm seeing is a double standard. If an individual does something that has an impact (anything), then it's bad or illegal. If a company does that samething, then it becomes perfectly acceptable and even desired. If Microsoft, AOL, the RIAA, Hollywood, etc. wants into john doe's computer it's something that john doe needs to do. If a programmer in Germany want in, it's labeled "hacking" and gets that programmer arrested. Why is this? What makes Microsoft trustworthy and that programmer not? I personally don't know either one. Why should I not have the oppinion that "NO ONE" is trustworthy? Perhaps because Microsoft created Windows so they know all about it and if you can't trust MS then life isn't worth living? LOL, bla...bla...

I trust me. I trust Microsoft less than most hackers and I trust AOL even less. I can't trust the RIAA as they are more likely to sue me for some bs reason that is based on their continued control over me. I had an instructor once describe the internet as "The worlds largest trash can". Anyone can put anything they want online. The wiser person learns how to distinguish the differance between all the bs and the truth. I'm not suggesting that I'm better than anyone else (far from it). I'm suggesting that anyone that spends any time online should take the initiative to learn something about what makes all this possible. As you learn, you should be better able to deal with all the bad things in a better way. The idea is to prevent the need to call the "help line" or pay someone to fix a problem.

It might seem as though I'm on a soap box here. If so, I'm sorry. I just have a passion for this technology and electronics in general. I'm starting to feel like the very thing that I love so much is being ripped out from under me.
Posted by Prndll (382 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Windows is UNFIXABLE
There is only one operating system that has never been
breached, has NO viruses and it does everything better than
Microsoft. In fact it leads the industry innovating everything,
both hardware and software and is what Microsoft imitates badly
five to ten years late.

Wake up Windows not only will never be fixed, it CAN'T be fixed!
Get a Mac.
You'll never go back!
Posted by Clues (84 comments )
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