Symantec published its report analysing cyber-issues in 2009. Most of the attacks continue to come from the US (19%), followed by China (8%) and a new comer, Brazil (6%). The bulk of the attacks (37%) focuses on acquiring data, then it is accessing structural tools of companies (26%) and piracy (15%). Fraud represents only 2%. It confirms that the new value or currency today is data, rather than money itself as a direct target. In other words, data is worth more than currencies.
The recent story about a Twitter user confirms that data is gold. He was able, after numerous tweets to different users including to a Twitter employee, to find the ID and password of that employee and conduct himself as an Twitter administrator (JDN, 6 May 2010). He has been arrested in France in the Massif Central, after collaboration with the FBI (Obama's account was hacked).
A lot of those attacks are performed by users dowloading PDF documents and believing that their banks would send them e-mails requesting for their information (74% of phishing). It confirms that users are "culprits" as much as the perpetrators. If people were a bit more careful in what they download and read, there would be less succesful attacks. It is certainly the message of Remy Fevrier from the French Gendarmerie Nationale (the French police under the military umbrella) at the FIC or Forum International sur la Cybercriminalite held in Lille from the 31 March to 1st April 2010. He explained that some firms went bankrupt because precious data was stolent by a competitor which was then able to offer the product at a lesser price because it did not have the costs of research and development.
Coming back to the Symantec report, to control other computers, attackers continue to use keystroke softwares, uploading users' details and zombies/botnets I suppose.
Firefox and Safari are the most vulnerable browsers on the web currently. IE and Chrome being stable and quite below (50 instead of around 100).
See the summary in French on JDN "Les menaces IT n'ont pas connu la crise en 2009" (6 May 2010)