Malware gets up close and personal

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Malware gets up close and personal

Malware writers are increasingly tailoring attacks to specific regions, languages and applications..

Security firm McAfee warned that locally targeted malware comprises up to half of all attacks in some areas.

Dave Marcus, security research and communications manager at McAfee Avert Labs, said: "You have the guys that are local for their region, and then you've got the bigger organisations.

"The situation is still developing, but we could not have had this conversation two years ago."

An example of localised malware can be found in Japan. Financially motivated malware throughout the rest of the world is overshadowed in Japan by malware which focuses on destruction and data theft via peer-to-peer applications.

"The Japanese threats are intriguing in that they use peer-to-peer and destructive malware," explained Marcus. "They pick up on the fact that people use peer-to-peer software a lot."

Another example is in Germany, where attackers created German-language attacks which played on current events, such as the 2006 World Cup, to lure victims.

McAfee believes that this is the start of a new trend in which attacks are sent out in local languages as well as English.

Marcus said that the spread in foreign language attacks will provide little relief to users in English speaking countries because of the ever-growing market for malware in all regions.

"When people are travelling, they need to be aware that there are unique threats," he said.
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