Spam and Botnet Threats Increasing Exponentially

In recent Internet threat reports distributed among software security web sites and blogs, it's become apparent that not only are we continuously vulnerable to cybercrimes, but that the perpetrators of such attacks are gaining speed in their development of new malware trends.

While old trends remain, new threats are being established, and some of the more notorious malware authors are coming into their own with the improvements made regarding specific parasites. Spam volumes have actually increased 141 percent since March this year, making this the longest running streak of increasing spam volumes ever.

Unfortunately, the rise in spam is not our only concern. There remains the dramatic expansion of botnets and the threat from Auto-Run malware. It has been reported that more than 14 million computers have been enslaved by cybercriminal botnets, which is undoubtedly a significant and rather frightening increase, one that could send spam levels to new heights.

Meanwhile, Auto-Run malware has seen a crucial boost in their own numbers, infecting over 27 million files on numerous computer systems. Auto-Run malware, which takes advantage of Windows’ Auto-Run capabilities, do not require users to execute them, and are typically spread via portable USB and storage devices. The rate of detection exceeds even that of the infamous Conficker worm by 400 percent, making Auto-Run malware one of the most widespread pieces of malware in the world.

Hackers Offering Their Services

To those cybercriminals controlling botnets, malware authors have begun to offer malicious software as a service, which no doubt corresponds with the growing number of botnets currently active. By trading or selling resources, hackers distribute new malware to a wider range of customers almost immediately, and with programs such as Zeus (an easy-to-use Trojan creation tool), the creation and management of malware have become even easier.

Social Networks Under Fire

As has been stated in previous articles, the popularity growth of social networks such as Twitter has made these web sites a new target for cybercriminals in the last 3 months. Disreputable malware such as the "Mikeyy" worm and new variations of the Koobface Trojan attack users through messages and abbreviated URLs. A more alarming development seems to be spamming Twitter accounts that are becoming increasingly prevalent.

In recent news, it has been reported that Twitter administrative accounts have been hacked into multiple times, giving cybercriminals access to the private accounts of celebrities and politicians, and even allowing for the publication of sensitive internal strategy documents on the Web. Twitter, however, is not the only social networking web site continuously under attack; Facebook and MySpace remain strong contenders for garnering the attention of hackers, and in May, it was noted that spam messages on social networks directed users to more than 4000 new Koobface variants!