Aladdin Knowledge Systems has announced that the Aladdin Content Security Response Team (CSRT) released the findings of a study that uncovered a dramatic increase in the number of dangerous spyware and Trojan threats lurking the Web last year.
213 Percent Increase in Spyware – The number of malicious threats classified as spyware by the Aladdin CSRT grew from 1,083 in 2004 to 3,389 in 2005, representing a huge spike of more than 213 percent. “Spyware” refers to a broad category of malicious software designed to intercept or take partial control of a computer´s operation without the informed consent of that machine´s owner or legitimate user, often driven by financial gain and associated with various computer crimes and fraud.
142 Percent Increase in Trojans – The number of malicious threats classified as Trojans by the Aladdin CSRT grew from 1,455 in 2004 to 3,521 in 2005, representing a 142 percent rise. “Trojans” are defined as malicious programs disguised as legitimate software. They could be legitimate software modified by crackers to include malicious code, or a program that masquerades as something benign, such as a game or image file, in order to trick the user to execute it.
56 Percent Increase in Viruses / Other Threats – The number all other malicious threats grew from 6,222 in 2004 to 9,713 in 2005, representing a 56 percent increase. “Viruses and other threats” include email worms and file infectors defined as self-replicating/propagating malicious applications. Unlike Spyware and Trojan horses, viruses and worms have self-spreading capabilities utilizing email, networks, instant messengers, etc.
“The swelling amount of spyware, as illustrated in the Aladdin CSRT report, is a direct representation of the fast-growing network of organized criminals that empower themselves through computers rather than physical theft,” said Shimon Gruper, vice president of technologies for the Aladdin eSafe Business Unit. “We continue to see a tremendous upswing in spyware and extremely vicious Trojans that are truly causing havoc not only for unfortunate consumers, but also organizations. It serves as further evidence that electronic threats are becoming much less of a game and more of a concentrated effort designed to steal identities and data.”