How private is your chat?

Monday, 28 April 2014 - 6:30am IST | Agency: dna
Heard of Cutwail, Kelihos and Grum? Even if you haven't, you could be part of them. These botnets, or networks, used for illegal activities are one of the biggest threats India is facing on the cyberspace.

India has emerged as a big target for cyber criminals. The country is the third-highest source of malicious activity and is the global leader in terms of spam e-mail.

What's worth noting here is that computer criminals of today have also changed their modus . They are now planning long-term heists instead of small targets with small rewards. Large enterprises are their favourite targets. Over 69% or 2/3rds of all attacks are aimed towards big companies.

"One mega breach can be worth 50 smaller attacks," said Tarun Kaura, Director, Technology Sales at Symantec India. "While the level of sophistication continues to grow among attackers, what's surprising is their willingness to be patient – waiting to strike for the big catch."

A mega breach happens when more than 10 million identities are stolen.

India has been particularly affected by top botnets like Cutwail, Kelihos, GRUM and GHEG. A botnet is a network of computers used for illegal activities, without their owners being aware of it.
According to a report from the Russia-based Kaspersky Labs, botnets currently are the biggest threat to the Internet now.

According to Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report 2013, Cutwail, a global botnet sends 8.06 billion spam messages every day. The highest number of spam (over 620 million) are sent from India. The total number of spam that goes out from India is 1.45 billion every day.

"People have this fundamental misconception that if something bad is going to happen, especially on Information Security, it's not going to happen to them, "said Kunal Bajaj, Chief Business Officer at eSecForte Technologies. He was speaking to dna on the sidelines of a cybersecurity technical workshop for security held by Esecforte and Rapid 7 at Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, to spread awareness about information security.

"We are only scratching the surface when it comes to cybersecurity. We need to tackle the increasing threats. Cybersecurity is only limited to major corporations and top tier cities. As Tier- II and III cities start to do a lot of IT work, cybersecurity will be a big concern,"said Lt Gen (Retd) DS Thakur at the workshop.

The threat landscape is changing in India with nearly four out of 10 attacks aimed at unconventional targets from industries untouched previously, such as media and hospitality, Despite stepping up their information security efforts, businesses in India continue to be an attractive and easy target for cybercriminals.

Globally, government ID proof is the most targeted data. Cybercriminals are no longer interested in just financial information.

"It was invasive. I felt like I had to completely disconnect myself from the internet as it is the most unsafe platform for any kind of activity. In my case, an through an identity theft, they made me believe that I was chatting to a friend," said Rhea Kanuga, a victim of a botnet attack.

"The hackers making these botnets have devious intentions and you never know how far they'd go," added Manna Kanuga, who was hit by a Skype botnet.




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