Excerpt from a malware snapshot
Last year, Symantec discovered 286 million new and unique threats from malicious software, or about nine per second, up from 240 million in 2009. The company said that the amount of harmful software in the world passed the amount of beneficial software in 2007, and as many as one of every 10 downloads from the Web includes harmful programs.
Unlike past blitzes of spam with clunky sales pitches, today’s attacks often rely on a familiar face and are extremely difficult to stop. In a practice known as spear phishing, hackers send e-mails that seem to come from co-workers or friends and include attachments that can release malware to steal passwords and other sensitive data. In other cases, malware can be activated when a Web link is clicked.