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Worst Nine Cyber Crimes of 2008

.. Prashant Mali (


Friends 2008 has been a groovy year for cyber criminals where diggers and phreakers hit bones after bones and eluded in the galaxy of cyber space.

According to Symantec's Message Labs, the daily number of new websites hosting malware peaked in November 2008 at 5,424.

The list here, is a sort of Big In '08 for malware, what Message Labs calls the "Naughty Nine," a list of the top cyber crimes this year.

1. Storm worm: The most aggressively spread malware in 2008, this nasty bugger enabled one of the largest botnets in history, infecting an estimated 2 million computers worldwide.

2. Search spam: Early in 2008, spammers discovered the search engine redirect, which allowed them to include a search query link within an email message. The link led to a forged website, but the redirect method allowed spammers to bypass spam filters by never having to mention which site the link led to.

3. CAPTCHA breaks: In February, hackers managed for the first time to break webmail CAPTCHAs, mechanisms designed to tell humans and computers apart online. Once they were able to break these codes, Gmail and other web-based email spam hit the world wide web in force.

4. Targeted Trojans: New versions of old tricks, targeted Trojans evaded Anti-virus using code variations, often to spoof legitimate websites and organizations. Since January, targeted Trojan attacks have increased to about 80 per day.

5. Web-base malware: SQL injections via HTML tags were all the rage by July, when the number of new, malicious websites blocked each day rose 91 percent.

6. Hosted applications spam: Getting adept at looking legit, spammers made use of linking to hosted online documents created under accounts with major hosted app providers, which are not blocked by filters.

7. Srizbi: Infecting an estimated 1.3 million computers last year, Srizbi was the culprit behind about half of all spam in 2008. The Reactor Mailer spamware, the bank spoofs? All thanks to the Srizbi botnet.

8. Ospama: All Barack Obama spam didn't originate from David Plouffe's desk. The 2008 election year attracted watch-selling spam clusters addressed from and, tow popular pro-Obama websites spoofed in the name of
sleezy marketing tactics. 85 percent of election-related spam used Obama as a subject line, perhaps making spam the best bellwether of them all.

9. Credit crisis phishing scams: When people started to worry about their nest eggs, phishers got busy trying to con them. Phishing attacks spoofing banks suddenly spiked in September and October by 103 percent.

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Category Criminal Law, Other Articles by - Adv. Prashant Mali [MSc(CS),LL