Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control, has warned
that business and home internet users in Australia must take
greater precautions to guard against continuously emerging
malicious computer threats.
In September 2006, security experts at Sophos identified 4,080
new threats, compared with just 1,998 in the previous month,
bringing the total number of malware protected against to 190,745.
This significant rise in threats comes in spite of a reduction in
the volume of malware being distributed via infected emails, now
just one in 300. This clearly indicates that cybercriminals are
moving away from mass-emailed attacks in favour of more subtle and
menacing attacks, such as phishing campaigns and spyware, targeted
at small groups of computer users.
Sophos has issued its warning in conjunction with the
announcement of National E-Security Awareness Week, which commences
today and has been organised by the Department of Communications,
Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA).
Sophos, in association with DCITA and several of its reseller
partners, is hosting a series of free briefings for small and
medium business owners and IT administrators in Darwin, Melbourne,
Cairns and Adelaide, in support of the new initiative. The aim of
the briefings is to help raise awareness of the online security
issues and offer advice that all Australian internet users can use
to combat cyber criminals.
Sophos has also today announced its support of the new
"GetNetSafe" scheme, launched by the Internet Industry Association
(IIA). The "GetNetSafe" scheme is one of the IIA's key security
initiatives for 2006 and combines education and technology
assistance to help internet users better understand and combat
spam, viruses and spyware.
The main focus of the "GetNetSafe" campaign is to drive internet
users to its new website http://www.secureyourcomputer.info
which provides trial downloads of specialised security software
from vendors, including Sophos, with the aim of increasing
protection among Australia's internet community.
"Small businesses are especially good targets for cybercriminals
because they are often unaware of how best to protect their
information while online," said Sean Richmond, Senior Technology
Consultant, for Sophos Australia and New Zealand.
Sophos poll of small businesses found that many failed to
adequately protect themselves from security threats, largely due to
a lack of understanding of online threats. Many also failed to
implement updates to their anti-virus systems in a timely manner,
leaving them vulnerable to attacks.
"The focus of computer threats has changed considerably over the
last 12 months to become highly targeted at small groups of
internet users", Richmond said. "Cybercriminals are using spyware
programs, Trojan horses and phishing campaigns to acquire corporate
and personal information in the hope of stealing significant
amounts of money from their victims."
"It is very encouraging to see initiatives such as the National
E-Security Awareness Week and the 'GetNetSafe' campaign, which
should help in promoting awareness of online threats and the steps
internet users can take to protect themselves and their
Sophos's security briefings will be held in the following
locations during National E-Security Awareness Week:
23 October - Sophos and Evolve IT seminar - 12:00pm
The Element Bar Bistro, 103D/604 Swanston St, Carlton,
24 October - Sophos and Brilliant Technologies breakfast seminar
The Shangri-La Hotel, Piperpoint Rd, Cairns
26 October - Sophos and Tripos breakfast seminar - 8:30am
Hilton Adelaide, 233 Victoria Square,Adelaide
26 October - Sophos and Editure breakfast seminar - 8:30am
Crowne Plaza, 32 Mitchell St, Darwin
For more information, or to attend the above seminars please