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F-Secure: Growth In Internet Crime Calls For Growth In Punishment

2008 has been a year of growth: in amounts of malware, in infections, in the number of botnets and in criminal profits. What is needed is growth in punishment for these criminal activities.
  • 05 December, 2008 13:00

<p>In its End of Year Data Security Wrap-up for 2008, F-Secure explains how 2008 has been another record year of explosive growth in the amount of malicious software (malware) on the Internet. F-Secure’s detection count tripled in one year, which means that the total amount of malware accumulated over the previous 21 years increased by 200% in the course of just one year.</p>
<p>Criminal activity for financial gain remains the driver for the massive increase in Internet threats. Today’s malware is produced by highly organized criminal gangs using increasingly sophisticated techniques. This year has seen increasing botnet activity around the world. These remotely controlled networks of infected computers remain a major challenge to the IT security industry because it is their vast computing power that is behind the unprecedented level of spam e-mail and malware distribution.</p>
<p>In 2008 Internet security issues once again made global news, from the huge rise in the amount of malware produced in the Chinese language during the Beijing Olympics, to attacks on the computer systems of the presidential candidates in the United States. Three major London hospitals were affected by a computer virus outbreak, while the United States Department of Defense decided to ban the use of USB memory sticks because of the security threat they pose. In 2008 malware even went into space as an online games password-stealer made its way onto the International Space Station on an infected laptop.</p>
<p>Bringing Internet criminals to justice remains a challenging task but there have been some recent successes. An FBI operation closed down Dark Market, an online marketplace for stolen credit card numbers and illegal Internet services. Investigative journalistic work led to the demise of McColo Corp. which hosted major botnets, resulting in a temporary fall in the amount of spam e-mail. On the corporate level, Microsoft has filed lawsuits against the purveyors of rogue security applications attempting to scare Internet users into buying worthless products.</p>
<p>Despite these successes, Internet crime is now more prevalent and more professional than ever before. F-Secure believes that against a background of steeply increasing Internet crime, the obvious inefficiency of the international and national authorities in catching, prosecuting and sentencing Internet criminals is a problem that needs to be solved. A call for the establishment of “Internetpol” to tackle online crime – made by Mikko Hyppönen, F-Secure’s Chief Research Officer – has been received with great interest internationally.</p>
<p>Hyppönen says: “The bottom line today is that too few of the perpetrators get punished. As a result, we’re sending the wrong message to criminals: here is a way to make lots of money and you will never be caught or punished.”</p>
<p>The full End of Year Data Security Wrap-up for 2008 is available at http://www.f-secure.com/2008</p>
<p>About F-Secure Corporation</p>
<p>F-Secure Corporation protects consumers and businesses against computer viruses and other threats from the Internet and mobile networks. F-Secure’s award-winning solutions are available as a service subscription through more than 170 Internet service providers and mobile operator partners around the world, making F-Secure the global leader in this market. The solutions are also available as licensed products through thousands of resellers globally. The company aspires to be the most reliable security provider, helping to make computer and smartphone users’ connected lives safe and easy. This is substantiated by the company’s independently proven ability to respond faster to new threats than its main competitors. Founded in 1988 and headquartered in Finland, F-Secure has been listed on the NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd since 1999. The company has consistently been one of the fastest growing publicly listed companies in the industry. The latest news on real-time virus threat scenarios is available at the F-Secure Data Security Lab weblog at http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/.</p>

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