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F-Secure Threat Report: Cyber Warfare is a Reality Now

SAN JOSE, Calif. – August 21, 2012 – F-Secure’s new Threat Report uncovers a security landscape in which focus has shifted away from traditional virus and malware threats, to nation-state sponsored cyber attacks. The report provides a detailed overview of the revolutionary malwares, Stuxnet and Flame, as well as key online threats targeting consumers during the first half of the year.

Toward a cyber warfare treaty

"Stuxnet and its successors, Flame and Gauss, simply put, have been game changers. I think we are now seeing the very first steps of a new cyber arms race,” said Hypponen.

F-Secure Labs has estimated that it took more than 10 years to develop Stuxnet. Such input indicates that cyber warfare has become a very viable option over conventional methods, like diplomacy or boycotts.

“Countries are using malware to attack each other. The cyber warfare revolution is underway. It’s happening right now,” continued Hypponen.

No immunity for Macs

The first half of the year once again confirmed that Macs are not immune from attack. Of particular note were the outbreaks of new variants of Flashback, which utilized a Java vulnerability to distribute the malware on compromised websites.

“The popularity of Macs in universities made them particularly hard hit. The Oxford University security team noted that Flashback was probably the biggest outbreak since Blaster struck the Windows world in 2003,” said Sean Sullivan, security advisor at F-Secure.

Banking Trojans, Android attacks and more

Among other online threats, the Zeus Trojan, in its many variants, remained a key concern, as this banking Trojan, which utilizes keystroke logging and form grabbing, was particularly forceful in select regions of the United States. Also encountered this year were new versions of SpyEye, which without any indication, empty your bank account when you access it online.

Additionally, the report notes a resurgence in ransomware; one that isn’t expected to yield during the latter part of the year. Also especially prevalent have been browsers blocked by the “police,” due to alleged illegal surfing activity, with “fines” to be paid using disposable cash cards or other untraceable means.

Regarding smartphone attacks, F-Secure has found the Android operating system to be the most targeted. The threats included unwanted software such as Steware.A and DroidRooter.F, as well as spyware, such as Adboo.A. A simple visit to a malicious website can render a device with a certain configuration infected.

“The year so far has shown there is no slowdown in virus and malware attacks. The best protection remains having up-to-date anti-virus software on all your devices,” stated Sullivan.

The F-Secure Threat Report and its companion, recently published F-Secure Mobile Threat Report, are available for download on the F-Secure website http://www.f-secure.com/en/web/labs_global.

About F-Secure – Protecting the irreplaceable
While you concentrate on what is important to you, we make sure you are protected and safe online whether you are using a computer or a smartphone. We also backup and enable you to share your important files. Our services are available through over 200 operators around the world and trusted in millions of homes and businesses. Founded in 1988, F-Secure is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd.

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Media Contact:
Mark Karayan
LEWIS PR for F-Secure