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Home PC users most attacked by hackers

Weak security measures make consumers vulnerable

Ordinary PC users - not large corporate networks - are targeted the most by hackers due to weaker security measures, according to the latest report by Symantec.

Symantec's Internet Security Threat Report, which covers the first half of the year, says about 86 percent of all attacks are levelled at home users while the rest are targeted at the financial services sector.

Symantec has identified increased attacks aimed at client-side applications, increased use of evasive tactics to avoid detection, and that large, widespread Internet worms have given way to smaller, more targeted attacks focusing on fraud, data theft, and criminal activity.

What this means is that malicious attacks are increasingly levelled at consumers.

“Attackers see end users as the weakest link in the security chain and are constantly targeting them in an effort to profit,” said Arthur Wong, senior vice president for Symantec’s security response and managed services.

Symantec documented 2,249 new vulnerabilities in the first half of 2006, an increase of 18 percent over the previous period and the highest volume of vulnerabilities recorded for any reporting period.

Vulnerabilities affecting web applications accounted for 69 percent of the total documented by Symantec in the first half of 2006.

Vulnerabilities in web browsers have also become increasingly prominent, with 47 documented in Mozilla browsers (compared to 17 in the last reporting period), 38 in Microsoft Internet Explorer (compared to 25), and 12 in Apple Safari (compared to six).

The report is based on Symantec data collected from more than 40,000 sensors deployed in more than 180 countries in addition to a database covering more than 18,000 vulnerabilities affecting more than 30,000 technologies from more than 4,000 vendors.

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