Symantec Issued Latest Internet Security Threat Report (Apr. 15, 2009) — Symantec, the Cupertino security software company has issued a report on Monday that hackers are finding new ways to attack computer users by taking advantage of weaknesses in Web applications and browser plug-ins, Sometimes hackers are posing as a legitimate Web sites into a source of malicious code.

symantec-logoSecurity experts detected a significant proliferation of Internet worms and other malicious activity in nations with “emerging economies,” where increasing computer use has been accompanied by widespread adoption of pirated software that lacks updated security protection.

Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report is a summary of trends involving viruses, spyware, phishing and other malicious activity that the company’s experts tracked in 2008.

One disturbing trend has been noted before: Organized criminal groups around the world are finding profit in phishing scams and “botnets” that surreptitiously take over PCs and steal credit card numbers or other personal information that can be used in various fraudulent schemes.

While the security of operating systems and browsers is improving, said Vincent Weafer, a Symantec vice president, hackers are turning their attention to weaknesses in applications or plug-ins, which are smaller programs that help deliver specific information or content on a Web site.

Hackers can exploit flaws in those programs to deliver malicious code or divert visitors to another server that is under the hackers’ control, he said.

“In the case of a popular, trusted site with high traffic, this can yield thousands of compromises from a single attack,” said the Symantec report.

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