Linsanity, Whitney's Death, New Android Threats Dominate Cybercrime in First Quarter

This quarter saw a significant shift in the way the security industry approaches targeted attacks and advanced persistent threats, which are now viewed more as a long-term, ongoing campaign versus the typical "smash-and-grab incidents" favored by cybercriminals in the past, according to the Trend Micro Q1 2012 Security Roundup Report.

According to the report, Q1's visible events -- Linsanity, Whitney Houston's death, and sociopolitical upheavals around the world -- gave cybercriminals new social-engineering campaign material, equipping them to penetrate and infect users and networks in order to access victim's data.

The report also noted that cybercriminals who launch APTs will often keep track of the different attacks within a campaign in order to determine which individual attack compromised a specific victim's network. The Luckycat campaign, in particular, attacked a diverse set of targets using a variety of malware, some of which have been linked to other cyber-espionage campaigns.

Notable trends in Q1 2012:

Cybercriminals are capitalizing on the growth of Android users who use their smartphones to gain Internet access. In fact, Trend Micro identified approximately 5,000 new malicious Android apps in the first quarter.

Apple surpassed Oracle, Google and Microsoft in reported vulnerabilities, with a total of 91. Oracle came in second, with 78; Google, 73; Microsoft, 43. Apart from posting the highest number of reported vulnerabilities, Apple also issued a record-breaking number of patches last March.

New social networking site, Pinterest, gained not just popularity but also notoriety. Site users were drawn into "re-pinning" a Starbucks logo to get supposed gift cards but instead got malware.

This quarter's top spam-sending countries included: India (20 percent), Indonesia (13 percent), South Korea (12 percent), and Russia (10 percent).

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