Cyber Criminals are Partnering for Lucrative Bizz

by CXOtoday Staff    Jul 15, 2009

Cisco in its finding, Cisco 2009 Midyear Security Report , said that Internet criminals are increasingly operating like successful businesses, borrowing some of the best strategies from legitimate companies and forming partnerships with one another to help make their illegal activities more lucrative.

In the report, Cisco offers recommendations for protecting against some of the newer types of attacks that have surfaced recently, recommendations that incorporate people, processes and technology as a holistic risk management solution.

The midyear edition of the report said some of the most common technical and business strategies that criminals use to breach corporate networks, compromise Web sites, and steal personal information and money. It also advises heightened vigilance against some old school approaches that are just as sophisticated and prevalent as newer threats. The report reveals that the Conficker worm, which began infecting computer systems late last year by exploiting Windows operating system vulnerability, continues to spread. Several million computer systems were under Conficker s control as of June 2009.

Securing the Internet has long been a moving target as criminals develop increasingly sophisticated ways to breach corporate networks and obtain valuable personal data. What is striking in our latest findings is how, in addition to using their technical skills to cast a wide net and avoid detection, these criminals are also demonstrating some strong business acumen, said Patrick Peterson, fellow and chief security researcher at Cisco. Online criminals are up on current events and making the most of them. After the outbreak of H1N1 influenza in April, cyber criminals quickly blanketed the Web with spam that advertised preventive drugs and linked to fake pharmacies. 

The study also said that specific threats come from botnets, spam, worms and spamdexing. With criminals being so quick to identify weaknesses both in online networks and in consumers psyches, businesses need to adopt ever more advanced ways to fight cyber crime and remain vigilant across all attack vectors, said Peterson. Cisco describes the rapidly growing mobile device audience as a new frontier for fraud irresistible to criminals.

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