Record numbers of crimeware besiege desktops

The APWG, the global independent coalition combating electronic crime, reported that rates of crimeware-spreading sites and rogue anti-malware programs used for a number of electronic crimes exploded at year’s end, indicating that electronic crime gangs are investing deeply in automated systems to steal personal and enterprise data.

The 2nd Half of 2008 APWG Phishing Activity Trends Report reveals that the number of crimeware-spreading sites infecting PCs with password-stealing crimeware reached an all time high of 31,173 websites in December. This represents an 827 percent increase from January of 2008.

Further, the report found, rogue anti-malware programs increased 225 percent from 2,850 in July to 9,287 in December. (Rogue Anti-Malware Programs are fake anti-malware products that can be used for automated phishing, extortion or, most commonly up until recently, the fraudulent sale of a worthless purported anti-malware product.)

Other highlights from the report include:

  • Unique phishing reports submitted to APWG recorded a yearly high of 34,758 in October
  • Unique phishing websites detected by APWG during the second half of 2008 saw a constant increase from July with October having the high for the half at 27,739
  • The number of unique keyloggers and crimeware-oriented malicious applications rose to an all-time high in July, reaching 1,519
  • The 2nd Half high of 269 targeted brands in November is just 8.5 percent lower than in May’s all-time high of 294
  • The number of phishing attacks against payment services increased more than 34 percent between Q3 and Q4.

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