Saturday, April 21, 2007

Targeted E-Mail Attacks

In a report released this week by MessageLabs, targeted e-mail attacks against single users were on the rise in March. Of the attacks, 84% were exploits in Microsoft Office, with an almost even split between Word and PowerPoint documents.

PowerPoint seemed to be leading the race, pulling ahead slightly last month.

What was most ominous was that most of the attacks came out of China and were targeted against US government agencies. The attackers found an exploit that was so successful, they used it repeatedly since last November. The attacks take over control of the victim's PC.

These types of attacks aren't really news. Targeted attacks have been on the rise for over a year and are one of the hottest new hacking trends. This recent set of attacks is just part of an ongoing trend.

Though government agencies topped the list of targets, there were also significant numbers of attacks against private sector companies in electronics, aviation, retail, communications and finance. The goal of the attackers was to steal data and information.

Interestingly, according to the report, the hackers took a break on weekends, hitting only Monday to Friday.

This was also reported in Computer World.

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