Symantec is declaring 2006 as the year that fraud grew up.
In a report provided to vnunet.com, the company said that online fraud and in particularly phishing became much more sophisticated in 2006.
The security firm observed more than 7 million phishing attempts each day with more than 900 unique messages per day over the first six months of this year. This is an 80 per cent increase over the second half of 2005, when Symantec logged roughly 500 unique phishing messages per day.
According to the report, 70 per cent of the brands that were spoofed in phishing attacks are based in the U.S. And nine of the top 10 phishing targets were financial institutions.
New phishing techniques that target VoIP services and SMS are becoming more more popular, said the report.
Symantec also suggests that phishers seem to favor the three day weekend. The company noted that the volume of phishing e-mails tends to dip during weekends and rebounds on Tuesdays.
2006 was a big year for zero-day exploits as well. Researchers observed an increase in attacks which targeted previously unknown vulnerabilities.
According to Symantec, attackers can develop exploits in a fraction of the time it takes for vendors to patch them, which often leaves users vulnerable for weeks at a time.
The security software vendor noted that the average time to develop an exploit was three days, compared with an average time of 28 days for a vendor to develop and release a security patch.
Rootkits enjoyed widespread adoption by attackers this year, said Symantec. The software tools, which access low-level functions on a machine and can allow an attacker to go undetected on a system, became a mainstream tool for attackers.
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