As Internet users grow more savvy and learn to avoid opening suspicious emails that appear in their in-boxes, it seems that cyber-criminals are becoming more savvy as well. In its annual threat assessment review, Internet security firm Symantec, identified a 93% increase in web-based attacks last year.
Among those attacks were an increased number of so-called targeted attacks. Targeted attacks involve the sending of infected files that appear as if they originated from legitimate senders.
In presidential elections they say that as Ohio goes, so goes the nation. Well in Web-based malware attacks it could be said that as consumers go, so go the hackers. A growing number of these cyber-attacks are being launched on social media sites and aimed at mobile devices.
Many alware designers are also utilizing social media sites like Facebook to place targeted "phishing" ads that are designed to interest specific users in much the same way advertisers target specific users by placing ads of interest on their Facebook pages.
Meanwhile as the major mobile communication platforms for cellphones become more widespread, hackers are seizing the opportunity and creating more pieces of malicious software aimed at targeting mobile devices.
Unfortunately while cyber-criminals seem to be ahead of the curve on this one it seems most users are behind it. Firewall-type security applications for mobile devices exist but they are not widely in use and most people have a false sense of security when it comes to sites like Facebook.
Until the proper security measures are made available by mobile phone companies and social media sites it's largely up to individual users to be diligent in regard to protecting themselves and their devices.