" ITREALMS: Cisco warns over online scams

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Cisco warns over online scams

Worldwide leader in system networking, Cisco has released its 2009 Mid-year Security Report that shows Internet criminals are increasingly becoming sophisticated by borrowing some of the best strategies from legitimate companies and forming partnerships with one another to help make their illegal activities more lucrative, reports CHARLES OKOH.

In the midyear edition of the Cisco Annual Security Report, the company outlined some of the most common technical and business strategies that criminals use to breach major corporate networks, compromise legitimate websites to spread malware, and steal personal information and money from individuals.

In the report, Cisco offers recommendations for protecting against some of the newer types of attacks that have surfaced recently – recommendations that incorporate people, processes, and technology as a holistic risk management solution – and advises heightened vigilance against some “old school” approaches that are just as sophisticated and prevalent as new threats.

General Manager, Cisco Nigeria, Mr David Seda, said the Conficker worm, which began infecting computer systems late last year exploiting Windows operating system vulnerability, continues to spread.

According to him, “Several million computer systems were under Conficker’s control as of June 2009 and also Internet criminals are up on current events and making the most of them. Following the outbreak of H1N1 influenza (“swine flu”) in April, cybercriminals quickly blanketed the Web with spam advertising preventive drugs and linking to fake pharmacies. Cybercriminals will often seize upon major news events to launch this type of attack, hence caution is very important,” he said.

The report also said some specific threats observed include; botnets; spam- which has remained a major problem in spreading of worms and malware, as well as clogging Internet traffic; worms- made increasingly popular by the rise of social networking sites where people are more likely to click on downloads content they believe to be sent by people they know and trust.

On spamdexing- because many consumers tend to trust and not be suspicious of rankings on leading search engines, they may readily download one of the fake software packages assuming it is legitimate; text message scams and insiders threats.

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