The amount of new trojans being created has hit an all time high, according to the latest threat report from security experts at Panda Labs, making trojans the “weapon of choice” for cybercrooks.
As cybercrime and online espionage continues to grow, the report shows that many law enforcement agencies are beginning to have an impact on the fight to deter crooks.
Whilst the activities of Anonymous and LulzSec resulted in arrests around the world, Panda says that this does not seem to have deterred them. Indeed, it seems that the biggest impact the hacktivist groups have had is on the users that they claim to protect.
This is due to their habit of stealing information online and then posting it publicly, a practice that is potentially useful for criminals looking for credit card information etc.
Further to this, although the groups had some success in raising their profile with campaigns such as boycotting Paypal, they have had little impact on the company itself.
Cyber espionage has also increased and it is widely thought that most of the attacks come from China. However, the country has denied this and claims to have fended off around 500,000 attacks itself last year.
The report also showed that China had the most infected computers in the world, with Taiwan coming a close second. The country with the least amount of infections was Sweden, with the UK coming in just behind them.
The reason for this could be to do with emerging economies; people in these countries are much more likely to use a pirated copy of Windows than their Western counterparts. This means that automatic updates would be disabled and render un-patched machines vulnerable to infection.
The emergence of Duqu has also caused worries that Stuxnet wasn’t an isolated incident, but is happening frequently. This raises concern that the threat of cyberwar is now a very real possibility.
“It seems that we are right now in the early years of a cyberwar arms race much like in the Cold War, although this time the battlefield is the Internet,” the report said.