/PRNewswire/ -- Panda Security, the Cloud Security Company, today announced that PandaLabs, the company's laboratory for detecting and analyzing malware, has published an analysis of major malware campaigns in 2009 and determined that cybercriminals are more frequently using current events as their primary vehicles for distributing malware.
Michael Jackson's death, swine flu and Barack Obama's political campaign and presidency have been the top issues used by hackers in the past year to distribute viruses via email or through social media such as Twitter or Facebook. By being aware of people's increasing use of the Internet to search for the latest news on social events, virus creators are relying upon highly trafficked terms and the latest news items as bait to spread viruses.
Issues involving applications for spying on partners when suspecting infidelity are also highly successful. For example, attackers have been offering applications that supposedly allow people to read the SMS messages sent or received on a specific cell phone via the Internet. Visual representations of these types of messages can be found here on Flickr:
PandaLabs' study of the top issues cybercriminals used from January to July to distribute viruses resulted in the following breakdown:
Michael Jackson's death 30%
H1N1 (swine flu) virus 27%
Obama's campaign and presidency 11%
Software to spy on partners' SMSs 9%
Independence Day 8%
Reuters agency news 5%
Online shopping discount vouchers 4%
Valentine's Day cards 2%
Farrah Fawcett's death 2%
Links to Pussycat Dolls videos 1%
One of the most active virus families as of late is Waledac. Waledac appeared two years ago and is still thriving, using topics like those above. For more information about these techniques, please visit: http://www.pandasecurity.com/img/enc/Boletines%20PandaLabs5_en.pdf.
Simple Tips to Avoid Falling Victim
Usually, once attackers have attracted attention, they redirect users to web pages to view or download something. However, YouTube's official website, for example, does not require users to download a codec to watch videos. If you are taken to a Web page that looks exactly the same as a legitimate one, such as YouTube, for example, make sure that the URL displayed in the address bar is the official one.
If you don't know what the official address is, find it by performing a search in any of the search engines that you normally use. Generally, the first result corresponds to the official site.
You can use security software to avoid carrying out these checks manually.
If you do not have a solution that provides this service and do not know whether the Web page accessed is dubious, you can still prevent your computer from being infected. Remember that you must agree to the file download for the malicious code to download and install on the system. Finally, scan every file with a security solution before running it.
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