The number of internet attacks originating in Australia is on the increase, according to a report which looked at trends in internet attacks, vulnerabilities and malicious code activities.
The bi-annual Internet Security Threat Report, released yesterday, surveyed activity between 1 January and 30 June this year. Conducted by security vendor Symantec, the report found that Australia had climbed in the rankings of top countries of attack origin.
John Donovan, managing director at Symantec Australia and New Zealand, said that exploits were being created more easily and faster than ever, with attackers launching more sophisticated attacks for financial gain. "Software vulnerabilities and targeted attacks remain a primary area of concern for Australian organisations and individuals," he said.
Donovan told iTnews there had been a change in the profile of attacks towards the targeting of vulnerabilities and specific industries. "It's the shift in the style of malicious code we're seeing," he said. "[There is a] rapid shift to malicious code design to obtain things like banking passwords, and credit card numbers.”
The report found that during the most recent reporting period, e-commerce was the most targeted industry, with almost 16 percent of attacks against it.
"This represents a 400 percent increase from the four percent reported during the previous six months," according to a statement from Symantec. "This rise may indicate a shift from attacks motivated by notoriety to attacks motivated by economic gain."
"If you've got confidential customer data, you should provide the highest possible level of security," Donovan warned.
Nor does he see much let up in the level of attacks over the coming year. Donovan believes that bot networks look like they are increasing, and also that spam will continue to rise.
He also thinks that there will be more targeted attacks on devices, as those initiating attacks aim at the backbone in networks. Linux would also become a much more fashionable target as it becomes more widely deployed, Donovan said.
Symantec's report also suggested that client-side attacks were expected to increase in the near future. "Targeted attacks on firewalls, routers, and other security devices protecting users' systems are also a growing concern," the statement read.
Among the other findings of the report was that there was an increase of severe, easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities. The company found that there were more than 1237 new vulnerabilities during the period surveyed this year.