Cyber spying to pose major threat in 2008: McAfee Study

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Bangalore, Nov 29: International Cyber Spying will pose a the single biggest security threat in 2008 according to a latest cyber security.

The findings of the Study carried out McAfee,Inc. said other major trends included an increasing threat to online services such as banking, and the emergence of a complex and sophisticated market for malware.

The annual McAfee(R) Virtual Criminology Report examines emerging global cyber security trends, with input from NATO, the FBI, SOCA and experts from leading groups and universities, a company release said here.

The report concluded that Governments and allied groups were using the Internet for cyber spying and cyber attacks. Targets include critical national infrastructure network systems such as electricity, air traffic control, financial markets and government computer networks 120 countries were now using the Internet for Web espionage operations It said many cyber attacks originate from China , and the Chinese government had publicly stated that it was pursuing activities in cyber espionage. Cyber assaults have become more sophisticated in their nature, designed to specifically slip under the radar of government cyber defenses it said adding attacks have progressed from initial curiosity probes to well-funded and well-organised operations for political, military, economic and technical espionage.

"Cybercrime is now a global issue," said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Avert Labs and product development in the release. "It has evolved significantly and is no longer just a threat to industry and individuals but increasingly to national security. We're seeing emerging threats from increasingly sophisticated groups attacking organizations around the world.

Technology is only part of the solution, and over the next five years we will start to see international governments take action.

Increasingly sophisticated threats to personal data and online services.

The report said genetically modified 'super' threats pose a new level of complexity in malware not seen before. These 'super-strength' threats were more resilient, modified over and over again like recombinant DNA, and contain highly sophisticated functionality such as encryption draw. Nuwar ('Storm Worm') was the first example, and experts say there would be more examples in 2008.

It said a new target for cybercriminals was Voice over IP (Internet Protocol) software. There have been several high-profile 'vishing' (phishing via VoIP) attacks and 'phreaking' (hacking into telephone networks to make long distance phone calls). In Japan , 50 percent of all data breaches have been via peer-to-peer software.

Cybercriminals would look for ways to exploit the popularity of applications on social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook the release added.


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