Spamming activities on the rise in India on low security awareness

Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

New Delhi, June 3 India figured among the top 10 Internet attack traffic originating nations, while China and the US emerged as the largest sources of Internet attack traffic (including viruses, bots, worms or malicious codes) in the first quarter of 2008, according to a latest report by Akamai Technologies.

As much as 30 per cent of such traffic originated from the US and China.

“During the first quarter of 2008, Akamai observed attack traffic originating from 125 unique countries around the world.

The top 10 countries were the source of about three-quarter (75 per cent) of the attacks measured,” Akamai – which provides managed services for powering rich media, dynamic transactions and enterprise applications online – said.

China and the US accounted for 16.77 per cent and 14.33 per cent of the attack traffic, while Taiwan, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, and India, competed the top 10 list.

Security issues

Virus are programs or piece of malicious codes that are used to infect a computer; while botnet refers to network of computers infected with software code which allows unauthorised user to control them to spread spam or even launch denial-of-service attacks.

“A fair amount of spamming activities are now coming out of India.

There is a definite lack of awareness about IT security issues in the country, and we do not have adequate security processes in place to tackle these issues.

“Bulk of attacks do not actually directly originate from the hackers’ PC but through ‘bots’, and given the high rate of software piracy in India, a lot of computers could be working as bots to launch attacks,” said Mr Niraj Kaushik, Country Manager, Trend Micro, India and SAARC.

Web site Hacks

The first quarter continued to see hacking attempts, some targeting specific high profile sites and others wreaking havoc on thousands of sites by exploiting automatic attack vectors.

In January 2008, the Pennsylvania State Web site was targeted by hackers allegedly located in China, the report said.

In the same month, tens of thousands of Web sites were targeted by an automated SQL injection attack — an estimated 70,000 sites fell victim to the attack.

In February 2008, an India anti-virus firm was target of a hack that exploited iFrame vulnerability to install the Virut virus onto insufficiently patched Windows systems that visited the hacked pages.

In March 2008, over 10,000 Web pages were infected by hackers looking to steal passwords used in popular online games.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated June 4, 2008)
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