Wed, Dec 22, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Report cautions users over virus attacks, Web scams

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Internet environment will remain dangerous next year, as computer viruses, spam and online phishing will continue to haunt individual and enterprise users, according to a report released by an Internet security company yesterday

The report, released by Trend Micro Inc (趨勢科技), indicated that the company has issued 30 virus alerts, including two high-risk alerts, this year, an increase of about 90 percent from a year ago. In terms of the number of infections, about 3.8 million computers were attacked worldwide, up 7.7 percent from last year, the report said.

Netsky, Mydoom and Lovegate, and their variants, ranked as the top three most-prevalent "malware," or malicious software, by Trend Micro's World Tracking Center. Trojans, worms and other backdoor programs that allow malicious users to remotely control infected systems, accounted for 81 percent of attacks this year, the report said.

"Users need to apply patches to their computer as soon as software companies announce system vulnerabilities," Scott Lee (李淳熙), marketing director of Trend Micro's Asia Pacific region, said at a press conference yesterday.

The Sasser worm, for example, damaged 18 million computers globally only 17 days after Microsoft announced the patch, Lee said.

Besides malicious intrusions, profit-driven scams -- attacks by bot programs that give remote access to hackers, as well as phishing and spam -- have significantly surged this year and caused huge losses among users.

Phishing scams often use official looking sites to dupe users into revealing personal information such as passwords or bank account numbers. The information has been used to withdraw or transfer money.

Lee warned local users to be especially careful about phishing. The nation's first phishing crime occurred in May, and managed to convince over 200,000 online banking users to divulge personal information.

Furthermore, users need to be more aware of attacks launched on popular Internet relay chat (IRC) and peer-to-peer (P2P) software, which are usually equipped with lower security measures, Lee said.

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