Every third PC in the US and Western Europe suffered online attacks in first half of 2012

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Researchers at Kaspersky Labs have released data on cybercrime in the States and Western Europe, showing in their analysis that one in three computers in those areas was subjected to an online attack in the first half of this year.

33.4% of online computer users in the stated areas were attacked at least once during the first six months of 2012, with Italy and Spain being the worst affected. More than 40% of users faced online attacks, while all of the other countries in the study (with the exception of Denmark) fell into the medium risk category (20-40%). Denmark was the only country surveyed that had less that 20% of its online users attacked.

Financial information is primarily targeted and the countries concerned play host to “…bots that collect financial data – more than 70% of the Sinowal attacks, over 40% of the SpyEyes attacks, and approximately 25% of the Zbot (ZeuS) attacks targeted users living in these countries.”

Other information and locations are increasingly being targeted, mostly by phishing attacks, including the PayPal system and eBay. Financial information is the target here as well but the report states that other information useful for conducting fraud is being hunted for in phishing scams.

Senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab Yuri Namestnikov said “Countries where Internet penetration rates are high, and online banking services are popular, attract cybercriminals who put their increasingly sophisticated technologies to the test there. A good example is the Zitmo malware family which works in tandem with the ZeuS Trojan. Zitmo attacks mobile phones when money is transferred via online banking, and sends transaction authentications numbers (TANs) to cybercriminals, bypassing the banks’ two-factor authentication systems.”

“In the foreseeable future, mobile banking will become a new focus for cybercriminal activity. This shift will be due to the growing popularity of banking services among smartphone and tablet PC owners, and the fact that many mobile devices do not have security products installed on them. Devices running under Android OS will become the most likely targets for attacks.”

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