Following the world's anticlimactic scramble against Y2K, cybercriminals looked for ways to make money and cause damage; explosion of social media and mobile devices created new opportunities
SANTA CLARA, Calif., January 25, 2011 - For Internet users, it has been a decade of exciting online advances that allow people to communicate, share information and conduct business in ways that were never before possible. However, cybercrime has also flourished over the last decade, growing by double digits year after year, and costing consumers hundreds of millions of dollars every year. The latest report from McAfee (NYSE:MFE), "A Good Decade for Cybercrime," examines the past ten years of cybercriminal tactics and online threats, an era that dramatically changed the face of crime.
"Cybercrime is one of the fastest growing and lucrative industries of our time," said Dave Marcus, director of security research for McAfee Labs™. "From the ‘I Love You Worm' of 2000, to today's ever-evolving threats on social media sites, we've watched these cybercriminals and their tactics grow in sophistication. The days of destruction purely for bragging rights are over — now it's all about making money and not getting caught."
Over the past ten years, Internet use has exploded, growing over five-fold from the 361 million users in 2000 to nearly two billion users in 2010, according to InternetWorldStats.com. With a new onslaught of e-commerce sites and revenue opportunities, the Internet has become a trove of money and information that has proven irresistible to cybercrooks.
Snapshot of a Decade
Top exploits representing different eras of cybercrime:
This fast-moving worm first struck in 2004 and tops McAfee's list in terms of monetary damage. Due to all the spam it sent, it slowed down global Internet access by 10% and reduced access to some websites by 50%, causing billions in dollars of lost productivity and online sales.
Looking ahead to future cybercrime trends, McAfee Labs predicts the continuation of social networking scams and tricks, such as malicious links, phony friend requests and phishing attempts. The scams are likely to get more sophisticated and personalized, especially if users continue to share a great deal of information.
If you think you may be a victim of cybercrime, visit the McAfee Cybercrime Response Unit to assess your risks and learn what you can do next at www.mcafee.com/cru.
"STOP. THINK. CONNECT." Consumer Advice:
STOP. THINK. CONNECT. is the first-ever coordinated message to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. The message was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, nonprofits and government organizations.
The coalition advises consumers to STOP. THINK. CONNECT.
When you cross the street, you look both ways so make sure it's safe. Staying safe on the Internet is similar. It takes some common sense steps -- Stop. Think. Connect.
Stop: Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.
Think: Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your families.
Connect: Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you've taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.
STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Protect yourself and help keep the web a safer place for everyone.
McAfee, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is the world's largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the Web more securely. Backed by its unrivaled Global Threat Intelligence, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security. McAfee secures your digital world. http://www.mcafee.com
McAfee and McAfee Labs are registered trademarks or trademarks of McAfee, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. © 2010 McAfee, Inc. All rights reserved.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=6584149&lang=en