Before growing into a worldwide phenomenon run by the worst cyber-criminals gangs out there, spam was an annoyance limited to the few intimate users of the ARPANET network. It was there, before the technology at the foundation of ARPANET gave life to the modern Internet, that 36 years ago the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) marketing manager Gary Thuerk sent what is officially acknowledged as the first mass marketing e-mail in history.
Like the nachzehrer which lives a half rotten life chewing its own shroud in the grave, during the last six months Sir Arthur’s Den has been a half-dead blog - no “status update” or new post, but a non-stop attention by the owner to static management of the (few) legit comments and the (too many!) spam comments collected daily by Defensio quarantine. As 2012 comes, Sir Arthur has finally decided to come out of the grave - shroud or not - and try to put his hands on these pages again hoping to succeed.
Someone could think that the strategies currently executed by cyber-criminals to extort personal information are sophisticated, dangerous and antivirus software-proof. Maybe it’s just like this, however it’s as much true that next to the fine technique the aforementioned criminals still use dirt cheap tricks against which there wouldn’t theoretically be any need for the antivirus at all. It would be enough to have one’s own brain always turned on when in front of the screen.
Trend Micro, a Tokyo-based security enterprise with over 4,000 employees in more than 30 countries, has recently asked the experts from TrendLabs (its global research organization) to make an updated list of the worst computer plagues ever. The resulting list includes 5 noteworthy examples of widespread infections which represented, during their respective period of wider circulation, the most dangerous security threats users and companies could have faced.
More than a week after the 1st of April, the day when the Internet stood still because according to the press the Conficker/Downup/Downadup/Kido worm could have destroyed the net, the infrastructures, civilized mankind and the entire planet things are going more or less as usual: Internet remains a dangerous place but it hasn’t exploded like a supernova, and bits are flowing quickly from a part to another one of the planet. The true novelty is that the botnet built up by one of the most complex malware ever finally shows what its true purpose is.
Trend Micro security enterprise has ranked the attack vectors exploited by the 100 most widespread malware from January to November 2008, and the results speak by themselves: among all the possible infection ways Internet is absolutely the most used (or better still abused) one by worms, trojans and other types of digital pathogenetic agents constantly hunting for victims and unprotected systems to compromise.
It’s a picture full of shadows and few lights the one outlined in the quarterly security report by F-Secure, a well-known Finnish company that produces antivirus software and integrated protection solutions. By analyzing the striking cyber-crime cases reported during the third quarter of 2008, the wrap-up highlights the difficulty to effectively fight an international phenomenon with the only aid from the local laws and the current cooperation treaties between the police authorities.