Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Analytics

Hackers Target Consumers

Two new studies show consumers still clueless about computer security, and hungry attackers putting them high on the menu

It's duck-hunting season, and consumers are the ducks.

That's the conclusion of two separate studies published in the last few days by security researchers studying end-user behavior and computer crime trends.

In a study of banking customers released last Friday, the Association of Payment and Clearing Services (APACS) -- which represents most of the major banks in the U.K. -- found that many online consumers still don't follow even the most basic security practices.

And in its latest Internet Security Threat Report, released today, Symantec found that consumers are increasingly being targeted by attackers for identity theft, fraud, and other financially-motivated crimes.

"Attackers see end users as the weakest link in the security chain and are constantly targeting them in an effort to profit," says Arthur Wong, senior vice president for Symantec's Security Response and Managed Services unit.

Despite warnings from all over the industry, consumers continue to practice unsafe computing, according to the APACS report. In a study of 1,835 people who regularly use the Internet to access their current savings and credit card accounts, some 3.8 percent said they would still respond to an unsolicited email asking them to follow a link and re-enter personal security details.

Less than half of those surveyed regularly update their anti-virus software. Two-thirds have not installed a firewall, the study says. Only one-tenth are using anti-spam software. And more than a third of respondents store their passwords by writing them down or storing them somewhere on their computers.

As with many diseases, the most at risk are the oldest and the youngest, according to the APACS report. Nearly 70 percent of people 55 and older never change their passwords, and only half of them memorize their passwords without writing them down. By contrast, 12 percent of respondents under age 24 would click on the link to divulge account details -- three times higher than the national average.

Meanwhile, home users have become the most targeted attack sector, accounting for 86 percent of all targeted attacks, according to the Symantec study. Financial services businesses were a distant second. Symantec researchers have identified increased attacks aimed at client-side applications, increased use of evasive tactics to avoid detection, and a higher percentage of targeted attacks.

And more vulnerabilities are turning up on desktop devices, Symantec says. Web applications accounted for 69 percent of all vulnerabilities documented by the security software company in the first half of 2006, and the number of vulnerabilities found in Web browsers has also increased, the researchers say.

The APACS study supports the Symantec data. The number of separate phishing attacks increased by more than 800 percent between August of 2005 and August 2006, according to the banking organization. Total online banking losses in the U.K. last year were about $44.1 million; credit card fraud losses were about $417 million, with Internet fraud accounting for about one-quarter of the total, APACS says.

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC) Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio
     

    Recommended Reading:

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 7/2/2020
    Ripple20 Threatens Increasingly Connected Medical Devices
    Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/30/2020
    DDoS Attacks Jump 542% from Q4 2019 to Q1 2020
    Dark Reading Staff 6/30/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon
    Current Issue
    How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
    This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
    Flash Poll
    The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
    The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
    This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2020-9498
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
    Apache Guacamole 1.1.0 and older may mishandle pointers involved inprocessing data received via RDP static virtual channels. If a userconnects to a malicious or compromised RDP server, a series ofspecially-crafted PDUs could result in memory corruption, possiblyallowing arbitrary code to be executed...
    CVE-2020-3282
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
    A vulnerability in the web-based management interface of Cisco Unified Communications Manager, Cisco Unified Communications Manager Session Management Edition, Cisco Unified Communications Manager IM & Presence Service, and Cisco Unity Connection could allow an unauthenticated, remote attack...
    CVE-2020-5909
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
    In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, when users run the command displayed in NGINX Controller user interface (UI) to fetch the agent installer, the server TLS certificate is not verified.
    CVE-2020-5910
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
    In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the Neural Autonomic Transport System (NATS) messaging services in use by the NGINX Controller do not require any form of authentication, so any successful connection would be authorized.
    CVE-2020-5911
    PUBLISHED: 2020-07-02
    In versions 3.0.0-3.5.0, 2.0.0-2.9.0, and 1.0.1, the NGINX Controller installer starts the download of Kubernetes packages from an HTTP URL On Debian/Ubuntu system.