Beware of New Cybercrime TrendsJennifer Martinez
Even though online security measures are being designed everyday to keep up with the latest threats, the first step in keeping your family -- and your computer -- safe is to know about the dangers in the first place. Here’s a rundown of the latest cybercrime trends, and how old threats are evolving:
1. Bot evolution Bots are programs that secretly download and install themselves on a victim’s computer. Cybercrooks can then remotely control the machine, using it for such criminal activities as sending spam or launching denial-of-service (DOS) attacks. Bot networks will continue to diversify and evolve. For example, criminals may use infected machines to host phishing sites.
2. Political campaigns The increasing reliance of political campaigns on web sites for fundraising and organizing opens the door to serious security risks, including:
Diversion of online campaign donations or donor information
Web site hacking to present misinformation about candidates’ positions and conduct
Crashing of the web site at a crucial time
3. Java-based web applications Small programs, such as video players or interactive maps, that launch themselves from a web page -- are proliferating. This also means they provide a growing opportunity for cyberthieves to spread bots, keyloggers (which track your username and passwords) and other malicious software.
4. Spam evolution Spammers will find new ways to evade traditional blocking systems and to trick users into reading their messages. For example, spammers are now using pictures of their text, rather than actual text, to evade content filtering. And spam has also been spread via MP3 files: People who clicked a link expecting to hear a song instead heard a stock tip.
5. Mobile platforms As mobile phones support a greater range of applications, hackers will move in and find vulnerabilities to exploit.
6. Virtual worlds Cybercriminals will focus on communities of persistent virtual worlds and multiplayer online games. Stolen passwords and game resources are a growing segment of the underground economy.
Cyberthreats will continue to evolve, finding vulnerabilities in new software, applications, and devices. You can protect yourself by using reasonable precautions online, keeping your security software current, and updating all your applications with the latest security patches.
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