Cyber criminals are using evolved versions of old attack tools to expand their operations, according to security firm McAfee.
McAfee listed tweaked versions of the Citadel and Koobface Trojans as two of the biggest threats facing businesses in its Q1 2013 Threat Report on Monday. The firm said the Citadel Trojan is particularly dangerous as crooks had developed it to steal a more diverse pool of data from its victims, making it one of 2013's most dangerous emerging threats.
"Citadel is considered an emerging threat to not only the financial services industry, but to other industries as well. Citadel gives cyber criminals advanced remote connectivity, and it also gives them the ability to dynamically decide which target to engage," said the report.
"There is a significant amount of recent activity to suggest that perpetrators will continue to use Citadel to attack businesses and government organisations around the world."
McAfee researchers also detected a surprise spike in the number of attacks using the 2008 Koobface Trojan to target social networks. McAfee Labs senior vice president, Vincent Weafer said the attacks on Facebook are troublesome as they could lead to more serious breaches on company networks. "Cyber criminals have come to appreciate that sensitive personal and organisational information are the currency of their ‘hacker economy'," said Weafer.
"The resurrection of Koobface reminds us that social networks continue to present a substantial opportunity for intercepting personal information. Within the enterprise, we see password-stealing Trojans evolving to become information-gathering tools for cyber espionage attacks. Whether they target login credentials or intellectual property and trade secrets, highly-targeted attacks are achieving new levels of sophistication."
Outside of Citadel and Koobface the firm also detected a marked increase in the number of spam campaigns targeting corporate data. "One of the biggest stories this quarter is the increase in spam after more than a year of decline. We counted 1.9 trillion messages in March. That's lower than record levels but about twice the volume of December 2012. Cybercriminals continue to develop and market crimeware tools, which make it easy for inexperienced scammers to join the ranks and exploit victims," said the report.
The quarter also saw yet another boom in the number of mobile malware families operating in the wild. "Our count of mobile malware samples, just about exclusively for the Android OS, continues to skyrocket. Almost 30 percent of all mobile malware appeared this quarter. Malicious spyware and targeted attacks highlighted the latest assaults on mobile phones. All malware that we track affecting clients, servers, networks, mobiles-now stands at more than 128 million samples," reads the report.
McAfee's findings mirror those of numerous other security firms. Most recently Russian competitor Kaspersky confirmed detecting 22,750 versions of evolved mobile malware in its Q1 2013 Threat Report earlier this year.
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