Computer Crime Research Center


Tremendous growth of cybercrime, report says

Date: September 20, 2005
Source: Washington Post
By: Brian Krebs

Online criminal activity of nearly every variety surged in the first half of 2005, fueled in large part by an increase in software security flaws and in the number of home computers being used against their owners' wishes to distribute spam, spyware and viruses, according to a new report.

The six-month period saw the discovery of a record 1,862 new software vulnerabilities, according to the survey from Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec Corp., a computer security firm. The report classified nearly all of those flaws as moderate to high security threats and found that about 60 percent of them were in programs that run over the Internet.

Security holes in Web-based programs are especially serious threats for businesses because attackers can use them to bypass a company's outer security measures -- such as Internet firewalls -- or to access confidential information.

Some of the most common and dangerous vulnerabilities are found in Internet browsers. While Mozilla's Firefox browser gained popularity this year after being touted as a more secure alternative to Microsoft's ubiquitous Internet Explorer, security researchers uncovered 25 security holes in Firefox during the first half of 2005, nearly twice the number found in Explorer.
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