Computer infections rife as hackers prevail: PandaLabs

Jul 06, 2011 by Glenn Chapman
Hackers infected computers, derailed websites, and plundered networks in a memorably miserable quarter, according to a report released Wednesday by Internet security firm PandaLabs.

Hackers infected computers, derailed websites, and plundered networks in a memorably miserable quarter, according to a report released Wednesday by Internet security firm PandaLabs.

Hacking groups Lulz Security and Anonymous caused "widespread mayhem" during the three months ending June 30, and malicious software "spread substantially," according to the research unit of Spain-based Panda Security.

"This quarter has been one of the worst on record," PandaLabs said in a quarterly security report.

"The number of attacks suffered by businesses and large organizations has set alarm bells ringing as systems and companies that until now were considered 'hack-proof' have fallen victim to ," the report continued.

Hacking victims have ranged from the and the US Defense Department to Sony, and .

While were cracked for motivations apparently political, financial, or mischievous there was a significant spread of viruses to computers in homes around the world, according to PandaLabs.

Hackers can seize control of infected computers and use them to attack networks or websites.

Researchers determined that an average of 42 new strains of , referred to as "malware," were created each minute during the recently-ended quarter.

A list of countries with the greatest infection rates was topped by China, where PandaLabs estimated that 61.33 percent of all computers were tainted with malware.

Thailand placed second with 56.67 percent and Taiwan third with 52.92 percent, according to PandaLabs.

The United States and much of Europe was ranked near the global average of 39.79 percent.

Sweden was said to have the lowest incidence of malware infections at 27.29 percent, followed by Switzerland and Norway which both had fractions more than 29 percent.

The findings were based on data from a Panda ActiveScan that people can use on-demand to check computers for viruses.

The quarter also revealed blurred lines between online activism, or "hacktivism," and criminal cyberattacks.

"It seems that the only way the Anonymous group has to protest is by committing illegal acts," the report stated.

Hacker collective Lulz Security, or LulzSec, rampaged the Internet with a stated mission of simply having fun at the expense of others.

"If you took the most irresponsible and brainless members of Anonymous and put them all together, they would be considered the most refined gentlemen compared to LulzSec," the report concluded.

LulzSec said on June 26 that it has ended an Internet rampage that included cyberattacks on videogame companies, police and even the CIA's website.

"For the past 50 days, we've been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possibly everything in between, just because we could," the group said in an online farewell.

"It is time to say bon voyage," the message concluded. "We must now sail into the distance."

While it remained to be seen whether members of the group would truly stop bedeviling the Internet, it was unlikely police would abandon efforts to track them down.

In the days before its farewell message, the group released hundreds of documents from the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The documents included information on drug cartels, street gangs, informants, border patrol operations and the names and addresses of members of the Arizona Highway Patrol.

Explore further: New social networks connect cooks and diners

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

LulzSec hackers taunt with telephone hotline

Jun 15, 2011

A hacker group on Wednesday brazenly ramped up its antics as unrelenting waves of cyberattacks expose how poorly defended many networks are against Internet marauders.

LulzSec computer hackers release Arizona state files

Jun 24, 2011

Computer hackers who have hit the websites of the CIA, US Senate, Sony and others have released hundreds of documents from the Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) in their latest cyberattack.

Hackers claim hit on CIA website (Update 2)

Jun 16, 2011

A hacker group was brazenly ramping up its antics as waves of cyberattacks targeting even the US spy agency expose how poorly defended many networks are against Internet marauders.

Lulz hackers say attacks are entertainment

Jun 17, 2011

Computer hackers who have hit the websites of the CIA, US Senate, Sony and others during a month-long rampage said Friday that they were staging the attacks for their own entertainment.

Recommended for you

Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law

19 hours ago

Brazil's Congress on Tuesday passed comprehensive legislation on Internet privacy in what some have likened to a web-user's bill of rights, after stunning revelations its own president was targeted by US ...

Research shows impact of Facebook unfriending

Apr 22, 2014

Two studies from the University of Colorado Denver are shedding new light on the most common type of `friend' to be unfriended on Facebook and their emotional responses to it.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Is nuclear power the only way to avoid geoengineering?

"I think one can argue that if we were to follow a strong nuclear energy pathway—as well as doing everything else that we can—then we can solve the climate problem without doing geoengineering." So says Tom Wigley, one ...

US urged to drop India WTO case on solar

Environmentalists Wednesday urged the United States to drop plans to haul India to the WTO to open its solar market, saying the action would hurt the fight against climate change.