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Symantec warns of Olympic malware threats

Simon Quicke

One of the favoured techniques of virus writers in days gone by was to use a major global event as a trigger to send out attacks and spam related material seems to be back in fashion.

It seems that those old techniques have not died out with Symantec voicing concerns that the Olympics, which starts in just a matter of days, is going to be a cover for a number of spam, phising and malware attacks.

The vendor's Spam report for July revealed that the Olympics was already being used in malware attacks.

Con Mallon, EMEA consumer product marketing director at Symantec, said that any major sporting event would be used as a subject line in spam messages but also providing attackers with a host of related websites that could be infected.

"The Beijing Olympics is gearing up to be one of the biggest events of the year and hackers and spammers will see it as a massive opportunity to compromise the unwary," he said.

He called for more vigilance at both home and work because there were risks of infection and damage to company reputations.

Rival vendor. Sophos also recently warned that corporate websites were becoming infected at unprecedented rates.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said that that the first half of the year had been marked by a significant increase in the number of corporate websites being targeted by hackers looking to use it is a platform to infect web visitors.

"It is happening an awful lot, every five seconds we come across a site that has been infected, and it is three times more than last year and it is large websites as well as the small ones," he said.

One reseller said that it had not seen a particular increase in phising but in the case of targeted attacks most organisations, including banks, kept the details to themselves.

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