Imagine this: When you are on going through your Facebook wall, you note that some of your friends have uploaded a link to an application that claims to reveal who visits your profile and how famous you are, just by clicking on it. However, when you realise that this seemingly innocuous activity might provide a gateway to a remote hacker into your own computer, it is too late.
According to the findings of Internet Security ThreatReport by a private computer security firm, social networking sites are increasingly used to launchmalware attacks in India.
The report highlights that the users feel comparatively safe to surf social networking sites compared to unknown websites. “The very nature of these networking sites makes users incorrectly assume that they are not at risk and attackers won’t use these sites to target new victims. Due to social engineering techniques and the viral nature of social networks, it’s much easier for threats to spread from one person to the next,” saidAnand Naik, managing director (India), Symantec.
The report also discusses a twin issue of identity theft. It informs that nearly 11 lakh identities were stolen in India due to data breach. The data got leaked from smartphones, USBs or storage devices used as backups. Experts claim that more and more people are now using phones to save important data and that its loss or theft can lead to availability of crucial data to criminals.
Another aspect of the report identifies vulnerabilities where it states that there are more tier-II cities on the list of frequently targeted areas by cyber criminals. Ahmedabad and Surat get mention in the report as the former has more phishing attacks, whereas the latter has issue of botnet. Security experts explain botnet as network of computers infected by malicious software known as malware. Other cities target of such attacks include Bhubaneshwar, Kochi, Jaipur, Vishakhapattanam and Indore.
“As per the report, 50% of the cyber attacks targeted small and medium-sized business organisations in 2011. While the number of vulnerabilities decreased by 20%, the number of malicious attacks continued to skyrocket by 81%,” said Naik. He attributed the rise to increase in number of internet users, thanks to faster broadband connections and internet on mobile.