Symantec Threat Report
The security company of Symantec are the creators of the highly popular Norton Antivirus software (among other products) has released their new Security Threat Report for the first half of 2006. The report is an analysis of threats and trends in the area of online attacks, viruses, phishing scams and malware. The report has become a very popular tool for developers and security specialists. There is so much information in this report that it would be impossible to show it all, so I’ll just go over some of the highlights. Some of which may surprise you.
First off, we’ll take a look at some findings as far as Internet browsers go:
- In the first half of 2006, Firefox, the popular Internet browser from Mozilla, had more vulnerabilities than Internet Explorer. There were forty-seven to 38 vulnerabilities in Firefox’s favor (or unfavor), but most of these were not as severe as those in Internet Explorer.
- Internet Explorer is still the most targeted browser with 47 percent of all browser based attacks.
- The response time for updating known vulnerabilities in their Internet browsers were as follows: Internet Explorer in the back of the pack with a response time of nine days, Apple’s Safari browser was next with five days, then Opera with two days and Firefox with a one day response time. So, even though FireFox had more vulnerability than IE, they were less severe and they were patched much quicker than its competitor.
- Symantec also determined that there were more than 4,696,903 controlled bot  PCs in the first half of 2006.
One of the biggest highlights of the report is the data regarding who is getting attacked the most. Guess who it is. You. The hammer stroke will fall hardest on the home users for a number of reasons and the chief motivator is financial gain, mostly in the form of identity theft. Attackers can gain access to home PCs easier than any commercial entity, because there is no real security strategy being enforced by security specialists. More specifically, not only are home users’ PCs easier to compromise, but it is also easier for a virus to stay on the infected PC for longer periods of time. This in turn, is more beneficial to the attacker.
If you are interested and would like to take a look at Symantec’s Threat Report, you can link out to the PDF file here.
In addition to all this great news, there are a couple of Internet Explorer vulnerabilities that are very serious. You can infect your PC by simply clicking on a link in either your Outlook Express or Internet Explorer. There is no patch out as of yet for the vulnerabilities, so I would suggest not clicking on any links you may not be sure of. I wish I had some better advice for avoiding these new exploits, but I do have some workaround and best practices from Microsoft that you may find helpful. You can find the Microsoft security advisory here.
Until next week, stay safe out there.
~ Chad Stelnicki