Author (#12)July 2007 Archives

Based on recent research Facetime has found security incidents targeting public IM and P2P channels increased by 5 percent in Q2 2007 compared with Q1 2007. In contrast, last year we saw a 35 percent decline over the same period, from Q1 to Q2 2006. We didn't cover this report recently on the blog, as the GTA story was rolling out full steam, but it is worth the time to read the analysis.

Some Highlights

A total of 317 incidents were reported during Q2 2007, bringing the total since Jan. 1, 2007, to 618 incidents. Ongoing research reaffirms a cyclical nature to malware threats with peaks in each year, typically in the spring and fall, followed by lulls in the summer and winter. In 2007, security incidents declined somewhat during the first quarter from a high in January. In the second quarter, security threats climbed again, but appear to have peaked in June. If previous patterns hold, we can expect a decline in the summer, followed by an upswing in the early fall.

From Q1 to Q2 2007, attacks spread via the mainstream networks (Yahoo, MSN and AOL) dropped from 74 total incidents in the first period to 64 in the second quarter. Attacks spread via AOL dropped by more than half (from 28 incidents to 13). Overall, the MSN network accounted for 50 percent of the attacks on the major networks, followed by Yahoo at 30 percent and AOL with 20 percent.

Some Key Findings


-- Increase in IRC attacks

As we predicted earlier this year, attacks spread via Internet Relay Chat (IRC) continue to account for a growing percentage of all attacks. In fact, the percentage of attacks that are IRC-based has risen in each of the last six quarters, rising from a 59 percent share in Q1 2006 to 72 percent in the current quarter.

-- Single channel attacks vs. multichannel

Similarly, single channel attacks?security incidents that propagate via only one vector, such as AOL, Yahoo or IRC?now account for almost three-fourths of all attacks. The percentage of attacks that are single-channel has also risen in each of the last six quarters, growing from a 46 percent share in the first quarter of 2006 to 71 percent in Q2 of 2007.

View the full report here along with past reports. It is important to note with the rise of unified communications and Web 2.0 we can expect attacks along social vectors to become more subtle, creative and far more sophisticated.

While single channel attacks continue to dominate, in May we covered this example of an attack through Skype (the ultimate payload being the Stration Worm) with the built-in intelligence to go after other IM services. I feel this is a good example of what we can expect long-term.


Research and Summary Write-Up: Wayne Porter, Senior Director of Special Research

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