Economic sag causing malware switch?

Malware writers remain focused on Web-based attacks while actively looking for new methods to disseminate their threats as 2009 drew to a close, according to findings released by security firm BitDefender.

Its Q3/Q4 2009 malware and spam survey highlights an increase in threats, from the exploitation of international news events to higher levels of spam being disseminated through social networking platforms; fraudsters are aiming to curb their marketing costs in a down economy, according to the latest'H2 2009 E-Threats Landscape Report' from BitDefender..

Trojan.Clicker.CM holds as the number one e-threat for the second half of last year. Along with the already 'traditional' Trojan.Clicker.CM infections, Win32.Worm.Downadup has been one of the most notorious e-threats of the past six months. Malware authors’ top choice of distributing their e-threats remains the Web itself, but Autorun-based techniques have been rapidly gaining ground. By default, every removable storage device features an autorun.ini script that instructs the computer on which file to execute when the medium is plugged in. However, now malware authors frequently tamper with the file to make it launch miscellaneous malicious applications.

Useful for non-technical computer users, the feature has been discarded in Windows Vista SP2 and Windows 7 in order to prevent infections.

“In the second half of 2009, we saw international events such as the advent of the H1N1 Swine Flu exploited to their full extent by malware authors in order to launch new infections," says head of BitDefender Antispam Research Lab, Vlad Vâlceanu.

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