Research on browser weaknesses triggers attacks

July 30, 2008

IBM's X-Force says cyber-criminals are using public research on Web browser weaknesses to launch attacks before most users are even aware of their vulnerability. The mid-year report from the security group indicates that organized criminals are adopting new automated techniques and strategies that allow them to exploit vulnerabilities much faster than ever before.

According to the X-Force report, 94 percent of all browser-related online exploits occurred within 24 hours of a vulnerability being officially disclosed. These attacks, known-as "zero-day" exploits, are on the Internet before people even know they have a vulnerability that needs to be patched in their systems.

Many security researchers have routinely posted the code needed to exploit a weakness as part of a security advisory. According to the X-Force report, these disclosed vulnerabilities are twice as likely to trigger zero-day exploits.

"The two major themes in the first half of 2008 were acceleration and proliferation," said X-Force Operations Manager Kris Lamb. "We see a considerable acceleration in the time a vulnerability is disclosed to when it is exploited, with an accompanying proliferation of vulnerabilities overall. Without a unified process for disclosing vulnerabilities, the research industry runs the risk of actually fueling online criminal activity. There's a reason why X-Force doesn't publish exploit code for the vulnerabilities we have found, and perhaps it is time for others in our field to reconsider this practice."

The latest X-Force report also found that browser plug-ins are the newest target-of-choice. In the first six months of 2008, roughly 78 percent of web browser exploits targeted browser plug-ins.

For more security trends and predictions from IBM, including graphical representations of security statistics, please access the full report at: www.ibm.com/services/us/iss/xforce/midyearreport

Provided by IBM

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Netherlands bank customers can get vocal on payments

August 1, 2015

Are some people fed up with remembering and using passwords and PINs to make it though the day? Those who have had enough would prefer to do without them. For mobile tasks that involve banking, though, it is obvious that ...

Power grid forecasting tool reduces costly errors

July 30, 2015

Accurately forecasting future electricity needs is tricky, with sudden weather changes and other variables impacting projections minute by minute. Errors can have grave repercussions, from blackouts to high market costs. ...

Microsoft describes hard-to-mimic authentication gesture

August 1, 2015

Photos. Messages. Bank account codes. And so much more—sit on a person's mobile device, and the question is, how to secure them without having to depend on lengthy password codes of letters and numbers. Vendors promoting ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.