Is the Economic Slowdown Affecting Hacking Behavior?

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<a href="" target="_blank">VASCO</a> Data Security International Inc., a software security company specializing in authentication products, announces the results of its aXsGUARD Gatekeeper Internet Threat Survey. <br /><br />VASCO surveyed 700 small and medium sized enterprises with five to 250 Internet users, revealing malicious activity during the first quarter of 2009. aXsGUARD Gatekeeper is an authentication and Internet security appliance, making use of VASCO&#39;s core authentication technology.<br /><br />The results of the first quarter 2009 are weighed against the first quarter of 2008 and the major trends are:<br /><br /><ul><li>Viruses, viruses and more viruses, including a steady increase in "money hunting" fraud tools such as Trojans and phishing.</li><li>Amount of spam is stable; however, more advanced techniques are in place to block spam.</li><li>More employees are surfing; however, more surfing behavior policies are in place.</li></ul><br />During the first quarter of 2009, we see more active viruses than in the first quarter of 2008. The number of active viruses has more than tripled. When we look at different types of viruses we see that these have almost tripled. We see a steady increase in phishing and banking Trojans, whereas more standard type viruses such as Netsky and Bagle remain constant. <br /><br />We could conclude that hackers are immune against the current economic slowdown and are even more focused on password theft and account hacking to steal money from innocent computer users.<br /><br />Spam is still on the rise; however, it is more accurately blocked through the use of new spam blocking techniques being used by aXsGUARD. We see that through the use of grey listing in the new aXsGUARD software, the total amount of spam e-mails drop with 40 million spam e-mails per month. <br /><br />The use of blacklisted e-mail addressed and IP-addresses of known spammers results in a drop of another 10 percent. And finally of the remaining e-mail, another 50 percent is stopped through the use of content scanning in Q1 2009, compared to 28 percent in Q1 2008. <br /><br />The use of combined anti-spam techniques results in more than 93 percent of unwanted e-mail being stopped before it reaches the end user in Q1 2008, and 89 percent in Q1 2009.<br /><br />More and more employees are surfing. We see an increase in surfing behavior of 32 percent. The number of blocked Web sites has almost doubled, whereas the visit to standard blacklisted Web sites remains stable. With the steady increase of blocked sites, we can conclude that more and more companies have policies in place. These policies regulate accepted and not accepted surfing behavior, for instance the visit to e-commerce and social network sites during working hours.<br /><br />aXsGUARD Gatekeeper is an authentication appliance which is suited for SMEs. It offers two-factor authentication and a number of optional modules providing a total security solution for network connectivity. The aXsGUARD modules consist of authentication, application firewall, firewall with DMZ and Intrusion prevention, content scanning with anti-spam and anti-virus, Trend Micro anti-virus and anti-spyware, remote connection and SSL-VPN and mail server. <br /><br />SMEs are typically looking for budget-friendly total security solutions. aXsGUARD Gatekeeper provides an answer to the specific need of the SME by adding additional security functionality to the authentication appliance.<br /><br />According to Jan Valcke, president and COO at VASCO Data Security: "Surveys such as our aXsGUARD Gatekeeper survey are necessary to demonstrate the vulnerability of companies on the Internet. Surveys as these clearly indicate that all companies, including SMEs, are vulnerable for Internet fraud. We cannot stress more the importance of being vigilant." <br />

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