23 Feb 2011

Email receives the most cyber attacks

According to chief research officer Mikko Hypponen, data security attacks still occur mostly through email.

Hypponen recently spoke at the RSA Conference 2011 in San Francisco and said that most of the data today is stored online, so more attacks occur this way.

Though attacks are found through web, chat and instant messaging, the majority are through emails, which generally have a malicious document attached. These attachments appear harmless and may be beneficial in the recipient’s mind, but the malware installed in the background compromises data security.

Despite the increased use of Microsoft Word and Excel, the most common document used for attacks are PDF files.

"This backdoor not only gives the attacker access to the victim's system, but also to everything on the network that they are authorized to access," said Hypponen.

The U.S. Department of Defense recently established Cyber 3.0, a united effort with private industries to reduce the gap of ever-changing cyber threats. Cyber 3.0 will include more than $500 million for new research in cyber technologies.