Cybercriminals target companies

2012-03-28 22:48
Kaspersky Lab's Sergey Novikov has said criminals are targeting companies to steal information. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Kaspersky Lab's Sergey Novikov has said criminals are targeting companies to steal information. (Duncan Alfreds, News24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Criminals have changed focus from hacking home users to corporates in an effort to make money from cybercrime activities, a security company has said.

"Cybercriminals have switched from home users to corporates and in the last 15 months, maybe a year-and-a-half; they are more interested in attacks on corporates and small and medium companies," Sergey Novikov, head of Kaspersky Lab's global research and analysis team, told News24.

The company has observed a trend of targeted attacks, specifically aimed at corporates to steal data. But Novikov also said that hackers target company officials personally to steal critical information.

"They collect information about employees, for example, social networks and any local information."

One strategy employed is that hackers send "bait e-mail" such as links to porn or financial reward websites.


These are set up to deliver malware to computers that may steal information related to company human resources, financial records as well as user logon information.

Novikov said that corporate users may be unaware of these attacks and could fall victim and compromise the entire company network.

"They send mail to executives, HR [human resources] guys, financial guys who are less technical, with some interesting PDF file or Excel file, trying to give you some interesting information.

"Non-very-technical people open it and infect their computers and then it propagates inside the network," said Novikov.

Advanced persistent threats (APT) are becoming more common as criminals attempt to use stolen certificates to spread malware through networks.

In September 2011, the FBI arrested six Estonian nationals for running a sophisticated cyber ring designed to manipulate the online advertising industry.

The malware that was used to infect computers was designed to be "invisible" to users and also allowed infiltration of other viruses.

Real-world threat

The FBI highlighted the real-world threat posed by malware.

"I believe the cyber threat is an existential one, meaning that a major cyber attack could potentially wipe out whole companies. It could shut down our electric grid or water supply. It could cause serious damage to parts of our cities, and ultimately even kill people," FBI executive assistant director, Shawn Henry, said in October 2011.

He said that the global cost of cybercrime was escalating and thieves were making increasing use of cyber techniques to steal money rather than physically breaking into banks or companies.

"The 2011 Norton Cybercrime Report put the global cost of cybercrime at nearly $400bn a year, and found that there are more than one million victims of cybercrime every day," said Henry.

Kaspersky Lab advises that corporate users adopt a complex security policy, including the use of multiple vendors to limit hackers' ability to compromise sensitive systems.

"Talking about corporates, it's important to use a complex approach to security," said Novikov.

- Follow Duncan on Twitter
- News24
Read more on:    kaspersky lab  |  cybercrime

Read News24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!

Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now! - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25


There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.