Computer Crime Research Center


Cyber crime hits record levels

Date: February 12, 2008
By: Breda Heffernan

One in three internet users is vulnerable to online criminals as instances of 'phishing' are predicted to soar to record levels this year.

And computer giant Microsoft is predicting the three biggest threats in 2008 will be from bogus electronic greeting cards, phishing emails and telephone scams.

The latest report from the Microsoft Malware Protection Centre in Dublin found that there was a significant increase in criminals targeting Irish computer users in the first six months of last year, up by 44pc. There were more than 166,000 incidents of computers being infected by viruses during that period.

Separate research undertaken as part of the 'makeITsecure' campaign found that the average computer connected to the internet is subjected to a barrage of almost 300 attempted attacks each day.

Electronic greetings cards are being flagged as one of the biggest imminent threats.

These are sent via email and when opened unleash a virus which can then steal personal information from PCs.

Unlike genuine cards, which contain a friend's name in the subject line, these bogus emails are usually sent from an unnamed "family member".

Phishing, or online scams that trick computer users into handing over confidential information such as bank account numbers, is expected to reach unprecedented levels this year, according to experts.
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