" Paypal "

Anonymous cyber-activist group launches attack in defense of Wikileaks founder

–      “We want transparency and we counter censorship”, says the group as they carry out attacks on various targets for anti-Wikileaks behavior

–      Anonymous has announced a series of new targets for the next few days, including Twitter for allegedly censoring Wikileaks discussions

According to global IT vendor Panda Security the cyber-group responsible for launching a series of attacks against copyright societies worldwide last October is now performing further attacks in defense of Wikileaks* founder Julian Assange. Anonymous has circulated a statement indicating that it has no affiliation with Wikileaks or its founder, but shows its full support of Assange, as “They fight for the same reason: Transparency and anti-censorship”.

So far Panda has detected three attacks. The first two hit Paypal and its blog for suspending donations to Wikileaks, and have resulted in over 8 hours of total downtime.

The third attack, however, affected the PostFinance.ch bank for freezing Assange’s account and has already resulted in more than 11 hours of downtime. Users even turned to Twitter to ask cyber-activists to stop the attack for at least 10 minutes to be able to use the bank’s online services.

Finally, last Monday, the Anonymous group’s own website suffered a series of DDoS attacks that rendered it inactive for some hours.

Anonymous is planning to continue with its campaign in favor of Julian Assange by attacking any institution who tries to silence or discourage Wikileaks. The group has already threatened Twitter for allegedly suppressing Wikileaks discussions (tweets with the hashtag #wikileaks), even though these threats have not yet materialized.

*Wikileaks is an international organization that publishes otherwise unavailable documents and news from anonymous news sources and leaks. These documents are often very controversial and have included private documents relating to the war in Afganistan. Julian Assange is recognized as the group founder and director.

Visit the PandaLabs blog for the latest information about the attacks.

For more information about Panda, visit http://www.pandasecurity.com/.

57,000 fake Web addresses created every week

  • Panda analyzed malicious URLs positioned on the Internet over the last three months
  • 65% of fake websites imitate bank pages, followed by online stores and auction pages at 27%

Global IT vendor Panda Security reports that hackers are creating 57,000 new Web addresses every week. They position and index these fake pages on leading search engines in the hope that unwary users will click them by mistake. Those who do, will see their computers infected or any data they enter on these pages fall into the hands of criminals. These cyber criminals also use around 375 international company brands and names as lures. eBay, Western Union and Visa top the rankings of the most frequently used keywords; followed by Amazon, Bank of America, Paypal and the US revenue service.

These are the conclusions of a study carried out by PandaLabs, Panda’s anti-malware laboratory, which has monitored and analyzed all major Black Hat SEO attacks over the last three months.

According to Panda, about 65% of these fake websites imitate banking pages. For the most part, they pose as banks in order to steal users’ login credentials. Online stores and auction sites are also popular (27%), with eBay ranked as the most widely used. Other financial institutions (such as investment funds or stockbrokers) and government organizations occupy the third and fourth positions, with 2.3% and 1.9% respectively. Payment platforms, led by Paypal and ISPs are in fifth and sixth place, with gaming sites, topped by World of Warcraft, completing the ranking.

“In previous years malware or phishing was typically distributed via email”, says Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan operations. “However, in 2009 and particularly 2010, hackers have opted for Black Hat SEO techniques, which involve creating fake websites, using the names of famous brands, etc.”

This way, when users search for these names, a link to the malicious website will appear among the first results returned. When they visit these sites, one of two things will happen: either malware will be downloaded onto the user’s computer, with or without their knowledge, or the website spoofs the appearance of a genuine page, a bank say, and users will unwittingly enter their details which will fall into the hands of criminals.

The problem is that when users visit a website through search engines, it can be difficult to detect whether it is genuine or not. For this reason Panda advises everyone to go to banking sites or online stores by typing in the address in the browser, rather than using search engines.

“Although companies are making an effort to ease the situation by changing indexing algorithms, they cannot fully escape the avalanche of new Web addresses being created by hackers every day”, concludes Matthews.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com

For more information about Panda, visit http://www.pandasecurity.com/

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