F-Secure Corporation’s Data Security Summary for 2004

From a computer security perspective, year 2004 was split in half from the middle: the beginning of the year was record-breaking busy with a huge number of major new virus outbreaks. After June, things calmed down, and we’ve only seen some outbreaks since.

New trends in 2004 were primarily the massive increase in phishing email scams, introduction of open-source botnets and a big increase in professional virus writing. The network worm problems encountered during the year have shown how important it is to equip every single computer with a firewall. During 2004 the number of known viruses passed the 100,000 mark. The amount of infected email traffic has grown massively when compared to 2003.

Year 2004 was the best year ever in actually catching virus writers and other cyber criminals. Authorities in several countries completed big operations with multiple arrests.

The first real mobile phone viruses were found in 2004. As mobile devices become more widespread, they become a more attractive target for virus writers. The first real mobile phone virus is spreading in the wild right now.

Spamming is getting worse and worse. Around 70% of all email is nowadays spam – and most of that is sent through infected home computers. Spammers make good money out of spam. Which mean spammers can invest into their operations
– making the problem worse.

“We don’t see many directly destructive viruses nowadays; most viruses just try to silently take over your machine instead”, says Mikko Hypponen, Director of Anti-Virus Research at F-Secure. “Current email systems are slowly dying. I’m afraid we need to do a major overhaul of email itself in the near future. This would mean changing the basic protocols to more robust ones and adding strong user authentication. This would be a massive and very expensive project…which means it won’t be done until the current email systems simply stop working”, concludes Hypponen.

The wrap-up with full details, graphs, pictures and a monthly list of incidents is available at: http://www.f-secure.com/2004/

About F-Secure Corporation

F-Secure Corporation protects individuals and businesses against computer viruses and other threats coming through the Internet or mobile networks. Our award-winning solutions include antivirus, desktop firewall with intrusion prevention and network encryption. Our key strength is the speed of response to new threats. For businesses our solutions feature centralized management. Founded in 1988, F-Secure has been listed on the Helsinki Exchanges since 1999. We have our headquarters in Helsinki, Finland, and offices in USA, France, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Japan. F-Secure is supported by a global ecosystem of value added resellers and distributors in over 50 countries. F-Secure protection is also available through major Internet Service Providers, such as Deutsche Telekom and France Telecom.

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