Keyloggers: Weapon of choice for hackers

Keylogging is quickly becoming the favorite technique of hackers looking for financial gain, data released this week claimed.

Statistics released by iDefense, a Virginia-based division of VeriSign, indicated that 6,191 keylogging incidents are projected for 2005 – an increase of nearly 2,000 percent in five years – and a jump of 65 percent from last year.

The ability to launch many attacks quickly is appealing to hackers, Joe Payne, vice president of Security Intelligence Services for VeriSign iDefense said in a Tuesday statement.

"Keylogging is a very effective method for hackers," he said.

"Fraudsters can launch hundreds of keylogging attacks around the world in seconds, gathering sensitive data to conduct large-scale monetary transfers for their illegal activities."

Ken Dunham, senior engineer for iDefense VeriSign, said the latest evolution of keylogging techniques is partially to blame for an upswing in ID theft.

"The indicators show a startling increase in identity theft; it's shooting through the roof," he said. "It's amazing the amount of it we're seeing take place."

Dunham said he believes criminals will soon more often "put the whole package together," combining keylogging with phishing techniques and other threats.

"I believe that what we are going to see is a more integrated threat."

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