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16 Jun 2005

Critical infrastructure organisations targeted by hackers, Sophos comments

Network cables

Experts at SophosLabs™, Sophos's global network of virus and spam analysis centers, have recently assisted the UK government in analysing a series of Trojans designed to steal confidential and sensitive information.

According to a report from the National Infrastructure Security Co-ordination Centre (NISCC), nearly 300 UK government departments and businesses which are critical to the country's infrastructure have been the subject of Trojan horse attacks, many reportedly originating in the Far East.

The Trojans are delivered to target organisations either via email attachments or through links to websites and can then be used by remote hackers to steal privileged information and potentially launch further attacks.

The scale of these attacks appears to be increasing - Sophos has seen a threefold increase in the number of keylogging Trojans alone in the last year.

"We see more than a dozen new pieces of malware capable of stealing highly valuable and sensitive information every day," said Carole Theriault, security consultant at Sophos. "Trojans which allow unauthorised remote access to a computer pose a serious risk to all businesses. While it's worrying that the UK's critical infrastructure could be at risk, this also serves as a reminder to all UK businesses that they must keep their systems secure to avoid confidentiality leaks. Every computer used for business must be protected with up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall."

"Malicious code is increasingly being written not just to cause a nuisance, but to steal money - whether targeting individual users of online banking or massive global corporations and government institutions," continued Theriault.

Earlier this year an attempted hack on the London office of the Sumitomo Mitsui bank was blamed on keylogging Trojans and just last month a couple were arrested in London for their alleged involvement in an industrial espionage scandal targeting Israeli companies.

Sophos assisted the NISCC with its investigation, analysing the samples and providing information on how the threats work.

About Sophos

More than 100 million users in 150 countries rely on Sophos as the best protection against complex threats and data loss. Sophos is committed to providing complete security solutions that are simple to deploy, manage, and use and that deliver the industry's lowest total cost of ownership. Sophos offers award-winning encryption, endpoint security, web, email, mobile and network security solutions backed by SophosLabs - a global network of threat intelligence centers.

Sophos is headquartered in Boston, US and Oxford, UK. More information is available at