TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Online Crooks Concentrate on Media Players and Software

Online Crooks Concentrate on Media Players and Software

Reuters News Wire (
Tue, 22 Nov 2005 10:49:53 -0600

Online criminals shifted their attacks in 2005 from computer operating
systems such as Windows and others to media players and software
programs, according to a study released on Tuesday.

Among the software programs that attackers are now targeting are
anti-virus software as well as programs used to listen to online audio
and video programing, according to the SANS Institute, a nonprofit
research group based in Bethesda, Md.

Attackers are changing their targets after Internet service providers
and operating systems designers such as Microsoft started shoring up
their systems following a barrage of worms, viruses and other online
threats in recent years.

The group's "SANS Top20" report identifies the 20 most targeted
software flaws that criminals use to infiltrate computers.

Top Windows vulnerabilities include Microsoft Corp.'s Internet
Explorer Web browser and Windows Office and Outlook Express. The
report also listed Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh operating system as
a top vulnerability among Unix operating systems.

Apple's OS X operating system is based on Unix, a heavy-duty operating
system used principally in corporate data centers and high-powered

Network devices such as routers and switches that direct Internet
traffic also are being targeted, SANS said. Cisco Systems Inc. made
the list with its "IOS" router product line.

"Network devices often have on-board operating systems and can be
programmed like computers," the group said in a statement.
"Compromises of network devices can provide attackers one of the most
fruitful platforms for eavesdropping and launching targeted attacks."

SANS released the study in cooperation with the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security's Computer Emergency Response Team, the UK's
National Infrastructure Security Co-Ordination Center and Canada's
Cyber Incident Response Center.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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