Symantec reveals biggest security threats of 2015

500m digital identities were stolen, while technical support scams increased 200 per cent year-on-year

Symantec has revealed 500m digital identities were stolen in 2015, while ransomware attacks were up 35 per cent and technical support scams increased by 200 per cent year-on-year.

The digital identities were stolen via large-scale data breaches, which, the company said, were on a much larger scale than previous years.

The security firm's report exposed the biggest security threats of last year, saying many of the attacks were made possible because of software bugs that were previously unknown by developers and companies responsible for keeping personal details safe.

The vast majority of attacks were carried out by gangs posing as software companies that could easily trick victims into sharing details unknowingly, Symantec explained. Some of these criminals have set up call centres set up specifically to con people.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

"They have extensive resources and highly skilled technical staff that operate with such efficiency that they maintain normal business hours and even take the weekends and holidays off," said Kevin Haley, director of Symantec security said.

The types of support scams people were fooled by included the tricksters phoning up members of the public, claiming to be a support service. Victims would then pay for non-existent faults to be fixed on their computers. Another popular scam revealed by Symantec was via a fake pop-up on websites that would claim the victim's computer was infected by a virus.

Ransomware was also a popular method of defrauding unsuspecting computer users. Symantec reported it had received a number of support calls from customers claiming they were being asked to pay a ransom in exchange for the freedom of their encrypted data.

Countries most affected by the scams were based in the UK, US, France, Australia and Germany, the report revealed.

Featured Resources

The essential guide to cloud-based backup and disaster recovery

Support business continuity by building a holistic emergency plan

Download now

Trends in modern data protection

A comprehensive view of the data protection landscape

Download now

How do vulnerabilities get into software?

90% of security incidents result from exploits against defects in software

Download now

Delivering the future of work - now

The CIO’s guide to building the unified digital workspace for today’s hybrid and multi-cloud strategies.

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/business-strategy/digital-transformation/354201/boston-dynamics-dog-like-robots-sniff-out-bombs-for
digital transformation

Boston Dynamics dog-like robots sniff out bombs for Massachusetts police

26 Nov 2019
Visit/business-strategy/mergers-and-acquisitions/354191/xerox-threatens-hostile-takeover-after-hp-rebuffs
mergers and acquisitions

Xerox threatens hostile takeover after HP rebuffs $30bn takeover

22 Nov 2019
Visit/security/data-breaches/354192/t-mobile-data-breach-affects-more-than-a-million-users
data breaches

T-Mobile data breach affects more than a million users

25 Nov 2019
Visit/mobile/google-android/354189/samsung-galaxy-a90-5g-review-simply-the-best-value-5g-phone
Google Android

Samsung Galaxy A90 5G review: Simply the best value 5G phone

22 Nov 2019