Worms are not your friend
There may be nothing friendly and sociable about hackers, but according to reports by both McAfee and Microsoft, the online scammers are spending more and more time cracking into social networks using phishing ploys, worms and Trojans.
Microsoft's security trend report - covering the first half of this year - noted a significant spike in phishing attacks in May and June 2009, which it reckons was caused by a number of hacking campaigns targeting social-networking sites during those months.
Unsurprisingly, banking sites, e-tailer sites, and online gaming sites were also ripe targets for attack, with Trojans still representing the most widespread method in the hackers' arsenal.
Worms, however, also managed to wiggle their way up from fifth place in the security risk stakes in H208 to second place in 1H09. Microsoft blames this on both the infectious Conficker and Taterf worms which spread rapidly through massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) in the latter half of the year.
In its report, Microsoft also boasts that it managed to not only detect, but also wipe out a plethora of "rogue security software" from some from 13.4 million computers during the first half of 2009, with the number of "total unique vulnerability disclosures" across the industry down significantly compared to this time last year.
Browser vulnerabilities increased a bit, but OS security holes apparently remained unchanged. Having said that, Microsoft did point out that infection rates for Windows Vista were a fair bit lower than for Windows XP, while the rate for Windows Server 2008 was also considerably less than Server 2003.
Meanwhile, McAfee's report fingered the U.S. as the number one spam distributor and the country with the most compromised "zombie" computers used in botnets to splutter out spam. It also has the dubious honour of being the country with the most servers hosting malware. China and Brazil followed in close second and third place.
McAfee also posited that 92 per cent of all e-mail sent out was actually Spam, a 24 per cent leap from last year.