SOURCE: G Data Software, Inc.

G Data Software, Inc.

February 10, 2011 12:17 ET

G Data Software Malware Report Shows Hacktivism on the Rise, Social Networks Under Fire in 2011

DURHAM, NC--(Marketwire - February 10, 2011) - Politically-motivated attacks on businesses by hacktivists will become increasingly common as rogue activists progressively take their efforts online, according to G Data Software's latest malware report, released today. The biannual report tracks emerging malware threats and tactics used by cyber criminals worldwide.

Forecast for 2011
During what became known as Operation PayBack last year, hacktivists carried out distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against large companies -- including Mastercard, Visa, PayPal, and Amazon -- forcing those companies' websites to temporarily crash. These companies were targeted after freezing donations to the notorious nonprofit WikiLeaks, best known for publishing classified documents from anonymous sources. The report forecasts more attacks like this. 

"WikiLeaks followers have exposed the effectiveness of politically motivated attacks on IT infrastructures. For political activists it seems that street riots and demonstrations are a thing of the past. The Web generation uses the Internet to get their message across," says Eddy Willems, Security Evangelist of G Data Security Labs. "G Data predicts 2011 will see the trend of hacktivism, cyber espionage and cyber sabotage gain momentum."

The report forecasts a rise in attacks on businesses, political parties, governments and other institutions, in addition to a new form of socially acceptable free speech emerging in cyberspace developing in response to these attacks. 

In addition to hacktivism, cyber criminals will continue to focus on social networks to sustain the growth momentum of malware and spam in 2011. The increased access to information and interlinking of services that used to be independent of each other makes individuals and organizations more vulnerable to effective attacks. The popularity of location-based networks and URL shortcut services will also accelerate the distribution of malware for individuals and organizations.

Java Platform Faces New Targets
On average, a new piece of malware for Windows-based PCs is released every 15 seconds by cyber criminals. According to the malware report, these attacks are increasingly occurring through security holes in the Java Platform and the vulnerability will continue to afflict the platform in 2011.

"Java dominates the PC market. Nearly eight out of 10 PCs worldwide have a Java plug-in installed. Cyber criminals have discovered that Java platforms are susceptible to security holes and are taking advantage of this opportunity for malware distribution," says Willems. "We expect a significant rise in the number of Java-based malware in the coming months. Users should install security updates as soon they become available to close any security holes in Java as quickly as possible."

Growth limitations
With as many as 2,093,444 different types of malware emerging, 2010 set a record for new malware families. This figure far exceeds the 2009 result and shows an overall growth rate of 32 percent year-over-year. Despite this staggering figure, the second half of the year saw a significant slowdown in growth. Compared to the first half of 2010, the growth rate plummeted to six percent during the second part of year.

"The malware industry might have reached its growth limit. For distributors of malware, there seemed to be no point in investing more into the development and deployment of new malware. Yet, we cannot give the 'all-clear.' We expect growth to remain stagnant for the time being -- but we cannot ignore the fact that we are still faced with a new threat every 15 seconds," says Willems. To download G Data Software's full malware report for 2011, visit:
http://www.gdata-software.com/g-data-malware-report-half-yearly-report-july-december-2010/

About G Data Software, Inc.
Founded in 1985, G Data Software is one of the world's first antivirus providers, with offices and distribution in more than 80 countries worldwide. The company provides proven enterprise and consumer security solutions, including antivirus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, and firewall software. In addition to products, G Data Software runs a world-class malware research lab, G Data Security Labs, which monitors and analyzes current computing threats on a global basis, partnering with organizations, governments and nonprofits to fulfil a variety of needs. The company has recently established operations in North America, located in the heart of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. For more information on G Data Software, its products, or Security Labs, visit www.gdata-software.com

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