The number of computers infected by viruses has grown this year. This alarming fact is largely due to the great number of new viruses/variants released in the wild in the first semester of 2004.
During the reference period, BitDefender Labs have identified 11,650 new viruses or variants of viruses this year, almost double the number of viruses or variants identified in the 2nd half of 2003 (6,430), and over seven times more than the 1,650 identified during the 1st semester of 2003.
BitDefender analysts have compiled a top ten of the worst threats encountered in the first half of 2004. The top largely reflects the fight between various versions of Netsky and Bagle, as well as the enormous success these strains have had. The virus writers (VXers) behind Netsky and Bagle have been very prolific, as the Netsky strain is composed now of 30 variants (A through AD), and the Bagle strain is comprised of 47 variants (A through AU).
BitDefender's Evil Top 10 ( first half 2004 )
A possible cause for the high rate of infections and the large number of viruses released this year is the trend towards building more dangerous viruses. It seems social engineering (a key component in the spreading of mass mailers) has its limits, so VXers are turning to exploits to help spread their "creations." This trend is easily explainable, since worms require no user intervention to spread. A significant number of exploitable holes in MS Windows were found and left unpatched by a sizeable portion of the user base in the first semester of 2004, leading to the Sasser epidemic, among other things.
The trend is easily discernible. While 75% of the viruses identified in 2003 were mass mailers, the proportion has declined to 65%, with the worms taking up the rest of the chart.
"The threats faced by Internet users have grown and diversified. With the proliferation of worms, Trojans and other malware we're seeing, applying common sense rules like 'patch quickly' and 'don't open spooky attachments' is just not enough to keep systems protected. Unfortunately, it would seem that our work is more necessary than ever," stated BitDefender CTO Bogdan Dumitru.
In terms of malware threat reaction, the German independent anti-virus authority AV-Test www.av-test.org recently issued an analysis at the Virus Bulletin 2004 International Conference which clearly points out BitDefender as having the fastest average response time in the last 8 months (Jan 1, 2004 until Sep 1, 2004) :
Less than 2 hours: none
1. BitDefender (Less than 4 hours)
2. Kaspersky (Less than 4 hours)
3. AntiVir (Less than 6 hours)
4. Dr. Web (Less than 6 hours)
5. F-Secure (Less than 6 hours)
6. Panda (Less than 6 hours)
7. RAV (Less than 6 hours)
8. Quickheal (Less than 8 hours)
9. Sophos (Less than 8 hours)
10. AVG (Less than 10 hours)
11. Command (Less than 10 hours)
12. F-Prot (Less than 10 hours)
13 Norman (Less than 10 hours)
14 Trend Micro (Less than 10 hours)
15. VirusBuster (Less than 10 hours)
16. Avast (Less than 12 hours)
17. eTrust (Less than 12 hours)
18. Ikarus (Less than 14 hours)
19. McAfee (Less than 14 hours)
20. eTrust with VET engine (Less than 16 hours)
21. Symantec (Less than 16 hours)
Overall response time: about 10 hours
Another significant trend is the increasing spread of "bots," either autonomous or networked. These make up a large part of infections lately, and are seeing wider use in illegal activities, because they include functions like password and Credit Card Number (CCN) collection and the possibility to launch Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. Second place in the BitDefender Evil Top 10 for the first half of 2004 goes, therefore, to Backdoor.SDBot.Gen, which does not represent a bot *per se*, but is instead the generic name under which BitDefender scanners recognize the backdoor components of an ever- increasing number of related bots.
Anti-virus manufacturers have repeatedly issued warnings to computer users worldwide to increase their awareness with regard to the danger of opening suspicious file attachments. Nevertheless, despite the emergence of bots and high profile worms like Sasser, mass mailers thoroughly outpaced everything else in terms of sheer numbers, so 1st place in the Evil Top 10 goes to Netsky.P.
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Bitdefender is the creator of one of the world's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified internet security software. The company is an industry pioneer, introducing and developing award-winning protection since 2001. Today, Bitdefender technology secures the digital experience of 400 million home and corporate users across the globe.
Top international testing organizations and world-renowned software reviewers acknowledge Bitdefender as a provider of the world’s most effective antimalware solutions. In January 2014, Bitdefender won top honors from AV-TEST, becoming the first solution to win “Best Protection” and “Best Performance” simultaneously. Bitdefender has also confirmed its industry leadership status with titles including “Best Antivirus of 2014” and two Editor’s Choice awards from PCMAG, and 2013 Editor’s Choice from CNET.
For more information about Bitdefender products, visit the security press room. Bitdefender also publishes the HOTforSecurity blog, with stories from the underworld of internet fraud, scams and malicious software.
The purpose of this report is to provide a comprehensive investigation of the threats’ landscape. Bitdefender’s security experts thoroughly analyze and examine the menaces of the each semester, focusing on software vulnerabilities and exploits, different types of malware, as well as countermeasures, cyber crime prevention and law enforcement.
The E-Threats Landscape Report concentrates mainly on the latest trends, but it also contains facts and data and concerning the previously investigated periods, as well as several predictions related to the upcoming semesters.
This document is primarily intended for IT&C System’s Security Managers, System and Network Administrators, Security Technology Developers, Analysts, and Researchers, but it also addresses issues pertaining to a broader audience, like small organizations or individual users concerned about the safety and integrity of their networks and systems.
H2 2012 E-Threat Landscape Report - Overview
For the first half of the year, zero-day vulnerabilities played an essential role in disseminating malware with exploit packs as a favorite vector of infection. The dangerous zero-day exploit in the Java Runtime Environment (CVE-2012-4681) was documented and proof of concept was added to Metasploit, which became public knowledge before a fix was made available.
As a direct result, three billion devices running Java were vulnerable to remote code exploitation for roughly 48 hours. A second exploit hit in September and targeted Internet Explorer 9. Successful exploitation would allow remote compromise of the system with the installation of the Poison Ivy backdoor. Both zero-day exploits were used in advanced persistent attacks.
2012 saw fluctuations in the amount of junk e-mail as a proportion of e-mail traffic. The year began with a slight decrease in spam e-mails, but spam constantly gained ground towards the middle of the year. According to data gathered from the Bitdefender Antispam lab, the second half saw growth again, with small variations towards the end of 2012. The increase in the number of junk e-mails was nonetheless minor, by only 5%, leading to a rough value of 73% of the total number of e-mails sent worldwide.
Since its inception in 2001, Bitdefender has continued to raise the bar to set new standards in proactive threat prevention and virus removal, in many cases leading the way in the best Internet security detection techniques to prevent the spread of malicious threats.
Thanks to its first-class products and state of the art technologies, the company rapidly expanded into a worldwide leader. Bitdefender made its entrance on the international market when opening offices in the UK, USA, Germany, France and Spain, as well as establishing strategic partnerships and a local presence in over 100 countries globally.
By the end of 2009, Bitdefender was protecting millions of users globally and had established trusted use of our technology with household names like IBM and Virgin Media through strategic partnerships.
2011 brought a pivotal change in Bitdefender’s company philosophy, as the organization embraced a new corporate identity. It was also a year of success, as the company’s consumer products were the first in years to be voted the #1 choice (in terms of internet security) by three of the most important independent testing organizations in the world.
The new image acts as a binder between the company’s roots and its future. One thing has remained unchanged: Bitdefender’s capacity of delivering top antivirus products. Bitdefender provides the best antivirus solutions using the same award-winning technology for consumers and for corporate networks, from the small business right through to the global enterprise, protecting all endpoints.
The Bitdefender proprietary technologies, based on innovative ideas and leading trends in the information security industry, continue to be internationally recognized as the best Internet security software. The independent organizations which reward our outstanding results through numerous prizes and certifications are: Av-Test.org, Virus Bulletin, ICSA Lab, Checkmark, PC World Top 100, just to name but a few.
Bitdefender strives to constantly develop technology to stay one step ahead in offering our customers the best antivirus detection, combined with flexible usability and performance.
Who we are – under the sign of the Wolf
Who are we? We’re a sublime alloy of intelligence, strength and willpower. We have the sharp mind of the wolf and the sleekness of the dragon, the vigilance of the alpha-male and the indestructibility of the snake’s body. We are a unique combination of symbols that fight on Good’s side.
Half wolf. Half dragon. The Dacian Wolf was carried into battle by soldiers defending their territories in ancient times. It created fear in the opposition, and built confidence in those who carried it.
We are now the bearers of this symbol that transcends time. While the battlefield has changed, its spirit lives on. We are the defenders of the new digital world. We are AWAKE, always on guard—protecting more than 400 million users across the globe with our award-winning technologies.
Judging by its looks, the Bitdefender brand avatar borrows the spirit of our fearless ancestors. It also adds a modern layer to our historical heritage, by bringing the Bitdefender quintessence into the equation.
Bitdefender is perfectly adapted to today's combat requirements. It possesses the necessary skills to win the digital warfare that is going on inside computer networks all over the world.
The logo is a sleek, simplified representation of the brand avatar, while "AWAKE" means we’re always on guard, always ready to step in for the safety of the user.
We are here to defend the welfare of all users, no matter the platform, the nature of the user nor the magnitude of the challenge.
We will do whatever it takes to keep computer users safe from harm and help the Good prevail.
Alexandru Catalin Cosoi is Bitdefender's Chief Security Strategist, tasked with energizing and publicizing the company's technological progress.
Catalin specializes in pattern extraction and recognition technologies, with an accent on neural networks and clustering algorithms. His technical achievements have so far materialized in four granted patents and a series of classification technologies being implemented mostly in Bitdefender software. As a consequence of his interests, he is also pursuing a PhD in natural language processing.
He lists his professional goals as "gaining a Nobel prize and achieving clinical immortality", is married and lives in Bucharest, Romania at the rare times when his job isn't sending him around the globe.
Sr. e-Threat Analyst
Bogdan Botezatu (born 1983 in Romania) is a computer security expert and editor of HOTforSecurity.com. He has a strong background in computer networking and antimalware research .
Bogdan Botezatu is Senior e-threat analyst for Bitdefender. He has worked for the Romanian provider of innovative antivirus solutions since 2007. His areas of expertise are cyberwarfare , mobile and social networks malware.
As Senior e-threat analyst, he was part of the teams that developed the Bitdefender USB Immunizer and Bitdefender Removal Tools . More than that, he was the author of Malware History , an overview of the most notable developments in the malware landscape, Securing Wireless Networks , that provides tips and tricks on how to shield your home network from intruders, and Safe Blogging Guide , that highlights key recommendations on how to keep your blog and identity safe.
Bogdan Botezatu has spoken at various computer security conferences around the world, including IPEXPO , DefCAMP and international seminars, such as “Current Methods for Combating Cybercrime”, organized by IMPACT Alliance.
Before joining Bitdefender he has activated as system administrator at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, where he supervised the implementation of IT functions in the educational sector for non-IT-related specialties.