Symantec launched the Norton Cybercrime Index last week at an event held in the Westfield mall in London.
According to Symantec the index tracks the level of fraud, identity theft, malware and spam around the world and warns users on a daily basis about the most popular tactics employed by cybercriminals.
The Cybercrime Index is composed of four different indices: fraud; malware; spam; and identity theft. It is updated daily at 09h00 US Pacific time.
Norton’s data for the indices comes from their own Global Intelligence Network and two third-party sources: ID Analytics and Dataloss DB (Open Security Foundation).
Trends across the four indices and the aggregate index are plotted over 69 days. For instance, on 21 February 2011 trends in cybercrime based on Norton’s data were shown from 15 December 2010. Trends in spam volumes are plotted over a year.
Asked whether Symantec would consider incorporating some of their older data, vice-president of the consumer business unit for Norton at Symantec, Laura Garcia-Manrique said that they would look at adding historical data to the index if it would be of interest.
Currently the index provides global trends, insights and warnings which may be relevant only to a certain part of the world.
On 21 Feburary 2011 the news headline under the ID theft section warned against phishing scams riding on the news about the protests in the Middle-East and North Africa as well as the Cricket World Cup.
However, under the fraud section it warns of scams masquerading as UK tax returns that seek to “rob you blind.”
When asked whether Norton plans on making the index more locally relevant, Garcia-Manrique said that if there is an interest in what’s happening in a particular country it’s something they’ll consider developing.
She said that when it comes to general interest events it doesn’t really metter where you’re from, however. “Pop culture is global,” Garcia-Manrique stated.
The reason for the index also not only to graph and discuss trends, but also to raise awareness about cybercrime, Garcia-Manrique said.
“It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse,” she added.
Garcia-Manrique said that users should be mindful that cybercrime is real and is happening. They also need to take steps to prevent infection, she said.
The number one method of infection is visiting malicious websites, said Garcia-Manrique. She said that she was concerned that users don’t understand that search keywords are being hijacked by attackers.
“Make sure you have protection on your computer. Don’t go online without protection – you will get infected,” she said.
Cybercrime’s next big target is mobile
According to Garcia-Manrique a mobile malware explosion is about to happen.
The combination of widespread connectivity on smartphones and the fact that smartpones are becoming a mass computing platform make them prime targets, she explained.
Specifically highlighting the amount of personal information contained on a phone as a major risk, Garcia-Manrique said that the malware threat to smartphones won’t be the same as on other platforms.
She added that there will be attacks such as phishing websites that don’t care about platform, however.
“Threats will evolve on smartphones,” she said.
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Jan Vermeulen was a guest of Norton in London