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Risk

12/8/2009
01:07 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Bank Login Stealing Trojan Threat Grows

Cisco released its Cisco 2009 Annual Security Report this morning, and it contains some interesting insight on many of the vulnerabilities and threat vectors we face today.

Cisco released its Cisco 2009 Annual Security Report this morning, and it contains some interesting insight on many of the vulnerabilities and threat vectors we face today.One of the most troubling is the continued effort by online criminals to steal banking and financial login information. The report specifically called out the Zeus and Clampi botnets. Both of these botnets attack online users to steal usernames and passwords.

According to the report, which was compiled by Cisco's Security Intelligence Operations team, found that both of these Trojans have made infection inroads. Cisco estimated the Zeus Trojan had infected 3.6 million systems as of October. While Clampi's reach is not yet as deep, having infected hundreds of thousands of computers.

Numbers like that are mind boggling - and meaningless if you are the one who gets infected and credentials stolen.

One of the most troubling trends that continues on is malware development kits. The Zeus Trojan, Cisco explains, for instance is available as a toolkit that can be bought for $700. These types of kits make it extraordinarily easy for malware developers to build attack programs that can more easily slip on by anti-virus scanners.

Another interesting tidbit is the number of patches released in September and October of this year:

In the months of September and October 2009 alone, Cisco, Microsoft, Oracle, and Adobe-whose products have been the targets of exploit attempts-released updates to patch more than 100 vulnerabilities in their respective software products. In addition, the vulnerability that allowed the Conficker botnet to gain strength was patched. And the newest releases of the Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox web browsers offer significant security upgrades.

Cisco called that positive news. I say it's mixed. It's bad news that software has so many exploitable vulnerabilities to begin with, but patches do help fill some of the security holes. It's just that another is always around the corner. It's a treadmill without a stop button.

We need to pressure software makers to do more to ship secure applications. That'd reap really good news for us all.

Cisco's full report is available here.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, consider following my Twitter account.

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