Ten Years of Cybercrime Classics

Wednesday, February 2, 2011 @ 07:02 PM gHale


Does cybercrime pay? It very well depends on who you ask, but if you look over the past decade, it is growing by double digits every year.
The latest report from McAfee, “A Good Decade for Cybercrime,” looks at the top exploits representing different eras of cybercrime:

1. “I LOVE YOU” worm’s false affection: Estimated damage $15 billion

The “I love you” worm (named after the subject line of the email it came in) proved irresistible in 2000 as millions of users opened the spam message and downloaded the attached “love letter” file and a bitter virus. This infamous worm cost companies and government agencies $15 billion to shut down their computers and remove the infection.

2. MyDoom’s mass infection: Estimated damage $38 billion

This fast-moving worm first struck in 2004 and tops McAfee’s list in terms of monetary damage. Due to all the spam it sent, it slowed down global Internet access by 10% and reduced access to some websites by 50%, causing billions in dollars of lost productivity and online sales.

3. Conficker’s stealthy destruction: Estimated damage $9.1 billion

This 2007 worm infected millions of computers and then took its infections further than the last two worms on our list, as cybercrooks moved from notoriety to professionalism. Conficker was designed to download and install malware from sites controlled by the virus writers.

The top scams cited in the report:

1. Fake anti-virus software – Selling fake antivirus software is one of the most insidious and successful scams of recent years. Cybercrooks play on users’ fear their computer and information is at-risk by displaying misleading pop-ups that prompt the victim to “purchase” antivirus software to fix the problem. When the victim agrees to purchase, their credit card information is stolen and they wind up downloading malware instead of security software.

2. Phishing xcams – Phishing, or trying to trick users into giving up personal information, is one of the most common and persistent online threats. Phishing can come in spam emails, spam instant messages, fake friend requests or social networking posts.

3. Phony websites – In recent years, cybercrooks have become adept at creating fake websites that look like the real deal. From phony banking sites, to auction sites and e-commerce pages, crooks are constantly laying online traps hoping you will enter your credit card or personal information.

Looking ahead to future cybercrime trends, McAfee Labs predicts the continuation of social networking scams and tricks, such as malicious links, phony friend requests and phishing attempts. The scams are likely to get more sophisticated and personalized, especially if users continue to share a great deal of information.



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