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06:15 PM
Sharon Gaudin, InformationWeek
Sharon Gaudin, InformationWeek
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Number Of Hackers Attacking Banks Jumps 81%

The number of hackers attacking banks jumps 81 percent, security vendor SecureWorks says.

The number of hackers attacking banks worldwide jumped 81 percent from last year, and the number of hackers targeting credit unions increased 62 percent, according to SecureWorks. The figures are based on attacks on the Atlanta-based managed information security services provider's financial institution customers.

So why are there so many more hackers today? Joe Stewart, a senior security researcher at SecureWorks, says that hackers no longer need to be technical wizards to steal people's banking information. Hacking tool kits and malware are for sale in the online underground, he explains, noting that all hackers need are basic technical skills and the knowledge of where to go to buy what they can't build themselves.

"You go to a Web site and pay $100 to several hundred dollars, and you can buy a turnkey exploit package," says Stewart. "You can buy the malware, too, and then you're in business. ... All you really need to know how to do at this point is set up a Web site."

This new ease of use is evident in the numbers. SecureWorks reported that between June 2006 and December 2006 it blocked attacks from about 808 hackers per bank per month. From the beginning of this year through June, there's been an average of 1,462 hackers launching attacks at each of the company's bank clients.

"The amount of stolen financial data we have found since the first of the year has been daunting," said Don Jackson, a security researcher with SecureWorks, in a release. "And we're finding new caches of stolen data every day -- evidence that more and more criminals are getting into the game."

RSA, the security arm of EMC (Hopkinton, Mass.), earlier this year reported a new phishing tool kit that made online fraud a point-and-click process. The kit, dubbed "Universal Man-in-the-Middle Phishing Kit," was being sold for about $1,000 on hacker sites, according to RSA executive Marc Gaffan.

--Sharon Gaudin, InformationWeek

Courtesy of InformationWeek, a CMP Technology property.

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