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Good decade for cyber crime

Over the past decade the Internet has grown from 361 billion users in 2000 to two billion in 2010. It has also become a trove of money and information which has proven irresistible to cybercrooks.

Over the past ten years, Internet use has exploded, growing over five-fold from the 361 million users in 2000 to nearly two billion users in 2010 (according to a new onslaught of e-commerce sites and revenue opportunities, the Internet has become a trove of money and information that has proven irresistible to cybercrooks, says Andrea van der Westhuizen, McAfee PM at AxizWorkgroup.

‚The latest report from McAfee ‚A Good Decade for Cybercrime’ examines the past ten years of cybercriminal tactics and online threats, an era that dramatically changed the face of crime.‚

Snapshot of a Decade

Top exploits representing different eras of cybercrime:

‚I LOVE YOU‚ worm’s false affection: Estimated damage $15-billion

The I Love You worm proved irresistible in 2000 as millions of users opened the spam message and downloaded the attached ‚love letter‚ file and a bitter virus. This infamous worm cost companies and government agencies billions to shut down their computers and remove the infection.

MyDoom’s mass infection: Estimated damage $38 billion

This fast moving worm first struck in 2004 and tops McAfee’s list in terms of monetary damage. Due to all the spam it sent, it slowed down global Internet access by 10 percent and reduced access to some web sites by 50 percent causing billions in lost productivity and online sales.

Conficker’s stealthy destruction: Estimated damage $9.1 billion

This 2007 worm infected millions of computers and then took its infections further than the last two worms on the list, as cybercrooks moved from notoriety to professionalism. Conficker was designed to download and install malware from sites controlled by the virus writers.

‚Top scams included the selling of fake antivirus software, phishing and the creation of fake web sites including phony bank, auction and e-commerce sites,‚ says Van der Westhuizen.

Looking ahead, McAfee Labs predicts the continuation of social networking scams and tricks, such as malicious links, phony friend requests and phishing attempts. The scams are likely to get more sophisticated and personalised, especially if users continue to share a great deal of information.

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