UAE 40th global place of origin for phising attacks

DUBAI — The UAE is ranked 40th among 180 countries where phising attacks, or criminal activities using social engineering techniques in computing, come from, according to the latest Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) released by Symantec Corp.

By A Staff Reporter

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Published: Sun 23 Sep 2007, 8:43 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:44 PM

A global leader in infrastructure software, Symantec cited its latest ISTR (Volume XII), which covers the period between January 1 to June 30, as saying that the latest UAE ranking is six places higher than what it got in March 2007.

"The ISTR suggests that the UAE is a prime target for malicious online activity, ranking the country 40th for the number of bot-infected computers, 66th for phising hosts, and 51st as a source of spam," Symantec said in a statement.

Bots, or web robots, are software applications that run automated tasks over the internet.

Symantec said that cyber criminals are increasingly using more professional attack methods, tools and strategies in conducting malicious activities driven by financial gains.

It stressed that 61 per cent of "vulnerabilities" detected were on Web applications. It said that once a trusted Web site has been comprised, cyber criminals can use it as a source for distribution of malicious programs to compromise individual computers.

There were 237 vulnerabilities found on web browser plug-ins, a significant increase from 74 in the second half of 2006 and 34 during the first half, it said. Spam, on the other hand, made up 61 per cent of all monitored e-mail traffic compared to 59 per cent during the second half of last year.

It added that attackers usually target social networking Web sites being accessed by a large number of people, and then conduct identity theft and online fraud, or use these to access more sites for further attacks.

It said the ISTR has also found out that credit cards were the most commonly advertised commodity on underground economy servers, making up 22 per cent of all advertisements, while bank accounts were next with 21 per cent.

Kevin Isaac, regional-director of Symantec MENA (Middle East and North Africa), said his company has been providing the UAE a bi-annual report on the latest online security trends, to help the country protect its infrastructure, information and interactions.

He added: "As the global threat to only activity continues to grow, it has never been more important to remain vigilant and informed on the evolving threat landscape."

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