Update: Ultimate Links - Computer Threats Top 10

The nature of computer crime has changed over the years as the technology has changed and the opportunities for crime have changed. Although thrill-seeking adolescent hackers are still common, the field is increasingly dominated by professionals who steal information for sale and disgruntled employees who damage systems or steal information for revenge or profit.

1. Number of password-Stealing Web sites will increase using fake sign-in pages for popular online services

More attacks that attempt to capture a user's ID and password by displaying a fake sign-in page, and increased targeting of popular online services will become more evident in 2007. As evidenced by the phishing attacks that followed natural calamities last year, McAfee Avert Labs also expects more attacks that take advantage of people's willingness to help others in need.

In contrast, the number of attacks on ISPs are expected to decline, while those aimed at the financial sector will remain steady.

2. Volume of spam, particularly bandwidth-eating image spam, will rise

In November 2006, image spam accounted for up to 40 per cent of the total spam received, compared to less than 10 per cent a year ago. Image spam has been significantly increasing for the last few months and various kinds of spam, typically pump-and-dump stocks, pharmacy and degree spam, are now sent as images rather than text.

Image spam is typically three times the size of text-based spam, so this represents a significant increase in the bandwidth used by spam messages.

3. Popularity of video sharing on the Web makes it inevitable that hackers will target MPEG files

The increasing use of video formats on social networking sites such as MySpace, YouTube and VideoCodeZone will attract malware writers seeking to damage a network. Unlike situations involving email attachments, most users will open media files without hesitation. Furthermore, as video is an easy-to-use format, functionality such as padding, pop-up ads and URL redirects become ideal tools of destruction for malware writers.

The W32/Realor worm, discovered in early November 2006 by McAfee, is a recent incident of media malware. The worm could launch malicious Web sites without user prompting, potentially exposing users to...

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