India among top Net phone hackers

By agencies   |   Friday, 30 September 2005, 07:00 Hrs
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MUMBAI: India has joined the list of the top 10 countries considered origins for internet-based attacks on the telecommunications industry, a report on internet-based threats shows, a newspaper reported.

India now ranks ninth and is responsible for 1 percent of the total attacks, but analysts expect this to grow as broadband penetration in India increases, the Economic Times reported quoting a study by the Nasdaq-listed Symantec.

Unlike in the past, when hackers did it for fun or to show off their technical abilities, attackers these days are more focused. The motive increasingly is financial gain. Symantec tracks threats through sensors deployed across 180 countries and over 2m decoy email accounts that help to gauge spam and phishing activity.

The U.S. was the top country of origin for attacks detected by sensors deployed in the telecom sector, accounting for 62 percent of attacks, followed by China (7 percent) and Canada (6 percent).

“Education was the most frequently targeted industry, followed by small business and financial services,” said Unmesh Deshmukh, country sales manager, enterprise security, Symantec India. Across industries, the U.S. was the country of origin of most attacks, followed by Germany and the UK. A study of the pattern of attacks shows that attackers prefer to target their own region at a greater rate than other regions.

The study revealed that the most widespread attacks were associated with the web in the telecommunication sector. Here, the port providing email service was attacked most often, which, if successful, results in relay of spam and unauthorized consumption of network bandwidth.

Besides, it can slow down systems or even lead to denial of service at times. Further, as more enterprises merge their data and voice networks, there is a likelihood of an increase in the number of attacks and threats directed at wireless networks as also voice over Internet protocol (VoIP), the paper said.

While spam made up 61 percent of all email traffic, messages that constituted phishing attempts increased from an average of 3m messages per day in January ’05 to 5.7 million messages per day by June ’05.

Phishing is a method of stealing confidential information, such as passwords, credit card numbers, and other financial information by tricking the end user into disclosing the confidential information, the paper added.

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