Government in the cross-hair as targeted attacks rise

Targeted attacks are on the rise as criminals seek to make money out of malware, and government is the main sector being hit.

IBM's bi-annual security report shows that emails containing viruses and "criminal driven security attacks" rose by half in the first six months of 2005 and that this year alone over 50 million attacks have been aimed at the public sector.

According to the report there have been over 237 million security attacks since January and the attacks are increasing. In January 2004 one in every 128 emails contained some sort of virus. In June 2005 that has risen to one in every 28.

"We have been anticipating this trend of focussed attacks for a while," said Pete Simpson, threatlab manager at email filtering company Clearswift. "Organized criminal groups have become more technically experienced, the commercial sector has inevitably been selected as an attractive targeted for a range of attacks: from brand hijacks, phishing and data theft using spyware to DDoS-based extortion rackets."

According to the report, targeted attacks are most common on the government, as SC reported early in July.

The IBM report suggests 54 million targeted attacks were focussed on government with manufacturing and finance ranked next, recording 36 and 34 million targeted attacks respectively.

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