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Report: Each 2011 data breach exposes 1 million to ID theft
Spam may have reached its lowest level in three years in December 2011, but that doesn't mean personal information is now safe online. Quite the contrary, according to Symantec's new Internet Security Threat Report because more than 230 million identities were exposed throughout 2011.
According to Symantec spam levels in 2010 reached 62 billion but in 2011 fell to 42 billion (messages per day), thanks to botnet take-downs; one in 299 emails are estimated to be a phishing attempt. They also found that roughly half of small to medium sized businesses were targeted for attack, as were about half of big businesses.
Some highlights from the report include:
• March 2011 419 scams related to the Japanese earthquake hit the web including fake donation sites and malicious attachments
• May 2011 spammers began setting up their own URL shortening websites
• September 2011 spammers exploited the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US
• December 2011 spam falls to the lowest level in three years
• 5.5 billion attacks blocked in 2011
It isn't just laptop or desktop attacks that consumers need to be aware of, though, because cyber attacks are now also targeting mobile phones. Targeted attacks, meanwhile, skyrocketed in 2011.
"Targeted attacks use customized malware and refined targeted social engineering to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information," was written in the report. "This is the next evolution of social engineering, where victims are researched in advance and specifically targeted. Typically, criminals use targeted attacks to steal valuable information such as customer data for financial gain. Advanced persistent threats use targeted attacks as part of a longer-term campaign of espionage, typically targeting high-value information or systems in government and industry."
For 2011, targeted attacks focused on government/public sector (25%), manufacturing (15%) and finance (14%).
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