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Symantec Intelligence
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Ben Nahorney | 20 Feb 2014 | 0 comments

Welcome to the January edition of the Symantec Intelligence report. Symantec Intelligence aims to provide the latest analysis of cyber security threats, trends, and insights concerning malware, spam, and other potentially harmful business risks.

A number of large data breaches were reported during the month of January. The largest new data breach included the exposure of 105.8 million identities in South Korea. (It’s worth noting that many individuals in the country had more than one account exposed in this breach.) Another large data breach, previously reported as including 40 million identities, has since had its numbers adjusted upwards and is now estimated at 110 million identities exposed. These two breaches contribute significantly in bringing the total number of identities exposed to over 500 million for the last twelve months.

Targeted attacks are up to their highest...

Ben Nahorney | 16 Jan 2014 | 0 comments

Welcome to the December edition of the Symantec Intelligence report. Symantec Intelligence aims to provide the latest analysis of cyber security threats, trends, and insights concerning malware, spam, and other potentially harmful business risks.

This month, we see the email virus rate increase for the second month in a row, reaching an annual high of one in 164 emails.

Targeted attacks continue to focus on the Service-related industries, both in the professional and non-traditional realms. Two out of every five targeted attacks appear to be focused on these Service categories.

We also saw an increase in the overall number of data breaches reported in December, many of which occurred in previous months. Many of these disclosures from earlier in the year could be due to various regulations and/or laws requiring the disclosure of a breach during the year it occurred....

Ben Nahorney | 17 Dec 2013 | 0 comments

Welcome to the November edition of the Symantec Intelligence report. Symantec Intelligence aims to provide the latest analysis of cyber security threats, trends, and insights concerning malware, spam, and other potentially harmful business risks.

November saw another increase in the number of targeted attacks. While these numbers are up slightly compared to October, they’re almost double the number of targeted attacks during the same month in 2012, though still much lower than their peaks this summer.

This month we saw another large data breach reported, where 42 million identities were exposed as a result. However, the breach apparently took place in January, resulting in an increase in overall numbers for the beginning of this year.

It appears that the email virus rate increased in November, where one in 235 emails contained a malicious attachment. This is up from one...

Ben Nahorney | 14 Nov 2013

Welcome to the October edition of the Symantec Intelligence report. Symantec Intelligence aims to provide the latest analysis of cyber security threats, trends, and insights concerning malware, spam, and other potentially harmful business risks.

This month we saw one of the largest data breaches in a number of years, where 150 million identities were exposed due to this one breach. This has more than doubled the number of identities exposed so far this year, when compared to our previous numbers through September.

October also saw an increase in the number of targeted attacks. These numbers are up fivefold compared to September, and even surpassing previous Octobers in 2011 and 2012, though still much lower than their peaks this summer.

When comparing the size of the targeted organizations, we see that a majority of attack attempts are against large corporations with...

Ben Nahorney | 18 Sep 2013

In this month’s report we take a look at social media scams so far in 2013. What we have noticed is that fake offerings, such as bogus opportunities for discount purchases, has dominated the social landscape this year, making up 82 percent of all social media attacks.

In the realm of data breaches, August saw a decrease in the number of breaches, with seven reported during the month. However, there were a further nine breaches reported in August that had occurred earlier in the year, bringing the total to 125 breaches resulting in a total of 91 million identities being exposed in 2013 so far.

In other news, 213 new mobile malware variants were discovered this month, a modest increase since July, but nowhere near the numbers we saw in June. There were 469 new vulnerabilities discovered in August, a 13 percent increase compared to the total in August of 2012.

The global spam rate fell 2.4 percentage points from July to 65.2 percent. The top-level domain for...

Darragh Cotter | 25 Jul 2013

Symantec’s Internet Security Threat Report (ISTR) is an annual report which provides an overview and in-depth analysis of the online security landscape over the previous year. The report is based on data from Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network, which Symantec analysts use to identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in cyberattacks, malicious code activity, phishing, and spam as well as the wider threat landscape trends in general.

The latest release, ISTR volume 18, may be considered the most comprehensive and detailed to date. Among other findings, the report incorporated up-to-date data and analysis on targeted attacks, data breaches, malware, spam, vulnerabilities, and mobile malware.

Everyone in Symantec is extremely proud of the ISTR; however, this is no time to rest on our laurels. We are constantly looking to improve the quality of our...

Ben Nahorney | 13 Jun 2013 | 0 comments

As the seasons change and we move from spring into summer, we’ve released the May Symantec Intelligence Report with a new look and feel. For this issue, we’ve focused on a few select topics that we've looked at over the months in the report, and also a few that we highlighted in this year's Internet Security Threat Report.

For starters we’ve taken a look at data breaches. Symantec and the Ponemon Institute have just released their annual Cost of a Data Breach report, which covers trends seen in 2012. Looking ahead into the New Year, we cover what has happened so far in 2013, where the number of data breaches is up for...

Ben Nahorney | 16 May 2013

As the urban legend goes, the bank robber Willie Sutton was asked why he robbed banks. “Because that’s where the money is,” he is attributed as saying. While Sutton has long since distanced himself from the statement, the concept resonates with many people, to the extent that it’s been used to describe principles in accounting and even medicine.  

This principle also holds true in the world of Internet security. In the latest version of the Internet Security Threat Report we discussed the major trends in the spam world, where the percent of spam email continues to decline while more and more social networks are being targeted. Given the growth of social networking in recent years as a...

Ben Nahorney | 12 Feb 2013 | 0 comments

In this month’s report, we find that the email malware rate has dropped significantly since December, where only one in 400 emails containing a virus in January. This is the lowest virus rate we’ve seen since 2009. It could indicate that email virus distributors took a break after the holiday season, or that they have continued to migrate away from email as a choice for malicious payload delivery. We’ll watch this trend carefully to see if it continues to drop off.

In other news this month, Valentine’s Day spam is in full swing. Such spam generally arrives as an ecard during this time of year, preying upon a potential victim’s curiosity about a potential secret admirer—a situation where a legitimate email would likely arrive unsolicited in the first place. Unfortunately many such emails around this time of year do not lead to unexpected romance, but rather fake bargains, phishing attempts, or malicious code. More details on these scams can...

Paul Wood | 11 Jan 2013 | 0 comments

In December’s Symantec Intelligence Report we take a closer look at our worldwide stats on the threat landscape. For the month of December, the United States claimed the dubious honor of being the largest source of spam at 12.7%, phishing scams at 24.2%, and virus attachments at 40.9% globally. It’s not unusual for the US to top one or two of these three categories, though claiming the triple crown of risk-based distribution is a little less common.

In other country news, Norway has jumped up to become the most targeted country for phishing attacks, as we’ve determined that 1 in 81.4 emails in the country were phishing attempts in December. Norway also came in second biggest source country, distributing 20.2% of all worldwide phishing attacks. The reasons why one country would jump like this are often varied, but likely due to a concerted...