29 May 2011

Cyber criminals turning to shortened URLs

Cyber criminals continue to find new ways to take advantage of unsuspecting computer users. According to a recent report by an internet security company, spammers are stepping up their efforts by establishing short URLs.

If the URL is clicked, computer users are directed to the spammers’ website containing spam advertising or malware. The report revealed that spam increased nearly 3 percentage points in May, compared to April, as a result of this URL-shortening.

The report also stated that one in 222.3 emails contained malware, one in 286.7 emails contained phishing attacks and nearly 3,200 malicious websites were blocked daily in May, increasing 30.4 percent since April.

“URL shortening services - which allow long, unwieldy URLs, or links, to be converted into much shorter URLs have experienced growth in popularity with the advent of length-restricted micro-blogging services and social media status updates,” said the report.

Cyber criminals appear to be increasing their methods of developing malware. During the first half of the year, 10 million instances of malware will affect computer users, according to an internet security company.