While online hacking is on the up spam is declining despite global operations involving Australian Federal Police aginst criminal gangs.
Its been revealed that Australia police have been involved in an international anti-fraud operation across seven countries that shut down a chain of hacker sites selling stolen credit card numbers and other illegally obtained financial information.
Some 15,400 Australian credit card details, with an estimated value of $3.75 million between them, were reportedly among those uncovered.
The operation resulted in the seizure of 36 Web site domains that were being used to sell stolen card data to other criminals round the world.
It involved a cooperative effort between the Australian Federal Police, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Germany’s federal police, the Netherlands’ national police services agency, Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs, Romania’s national police and the UK’s Serious Organised Crimes Agency.
The operation focused on sites that were using e-commerce platforms known as automated vending carts that enabled criminals to quickly sell large numbers of stolen card information.
Meanwhile Symantec claims that spam is declining in Australia but the incidence of viruses spread by e-mail is far higher Down Under than in most of the world, a new Symantec report suggests.
Symantec yesterday published its annual Internet Security Threat Report, showing that worldwide the number of malicious attacks skyrocketed 81 percent, but the number of vulnerabilities actually decreased by 20 percent.
Symantec Australia spokeswoman Debbie Sassine told CDN Australia’s global ranking in terms of malicious activity placed it at number 24. Spam rates in Australia were down by 18 percent at 70.8 percent of e-mails and less than the global spam rate of 75.8.
But viruses in Australia were showing up in one in every 153 e-mails, against global figures of one in 238.8.
“In Australia and globally the figures show a decline, particularly in terms of spam where there is much more awareness, but an increase in mobile-related and social networking malware has been flagged,” Sassine said.
Globally Symantec blocked more than 5.5 billion malicious attacks in 2011, an increase of 81 percent over the previous year. In addition, the number of unique malware variants increased to 403 million and the number of Web attacks blocked per day increased by 36 percent.
While spam is declining, targeted attacks are growing, with the number of daily attacks increasing from 77 per day to 82 per day by the end of 2011.
Targeted attacks use social engineering and customised malware to gain unauthorised access to sensitive information.
Approximately 1.1 million identities were stolen per data breach on average in 2011, a dramatic increase over the amount seen in any other year. – Kate Castellari