are malicious programs designed to take advantage of vulnerabilities in
legitimate software and penetrate users’ computers. The fact that they function
surreptitiously makes them all the more dangerous. If a computer is running
vulnerable versions of any software, simply visiting an infected web page or
opening a file containing malicious code is enough to trigger an exploit.
Traditionally, the most frequent targets for attacks have been Oracle Java,
Adobe Flash Player, and Adobe Reader. However, the Kaspersky Lab study revealed
that in the past year Java is increasingly becoming the prime target for
study was based on data gathered from users of Kaspersky products around the
world who consented to provide information to Kaspersky Security Network.
Of the 14.1
million attacks detected using Java exploits, most happened in the second half
of the study period – over 8.54 million attacks were registered from March to
August 2013, up 52.7% on the previous six months.
Over a 12-month period, Kaspersky Lab’s products protected more than 3.75 million users across the globe from Java exploit attacks.
Approximately 80% of attacked users live in 10 countries; the top 3 countries include the USA, Russia and Germany.
Canada, the USA, Germany and Brazil experienced the fastest growth in the number of attacks.
Approximately 50% of all attacks were launched using just six families of Java exploits.
For home users, installing newly released updates is rarely a high priority – which plays into the cybercriminals’ hands. According to the research, most users keep working with a vulnerable version of Java for six weeks after an update is released.
Over a one-year period, each user faced an average of 3.72 attacks. Over the period from September 2012 – February 2013, the average exposure was 3.29 attacks per individual user; in March – August 2013, it was 4.15 attacks per user. In the span of six months exposure rates rose by 26.1%.
1,210,000 unique attack sources were identified in 95 countries.
large number of attacks launched using Java exploits is of little surprise:
over the 12 months of Kaspersky Lab’s research, 161 vulnerabilities were
identified in Java. In comparison, over the period of September 2011 to August
2012, 51 vulnerabilities were identified. Six of the newly detected
vulnerabilities were rated as critical, or very dangerous; these six were most
actively used in attacks by cybercriminals.
Quote: Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky
Head of the Vulnerability Research Group
“Java is a victim of its own popularity. Cyber criminals know they are better
off focusing their efforts on finding a vulnerability in Java and then
attacking millions of computers at one stroke, rather than creating multiple
exploits for several less popular products and still finding that they are
affecting fewer computers.”
To protect themselves against the potential costs of a malicious attack
launched using Java exploits, Kaspersky Lab’s experts advise both home and
corporate users to install Java updates promptly as well as choosing security
solutions that can reliably block exploit-based cyber-attacks.
About Kaspersky Lab Kaspersky Lab is the world’s largest privately held vendor of endpoint
protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors
of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than 15-year
history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides
effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers.
Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom,
currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe,
providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
* The company was rated fourth in the IDC rating Worldwide Endpoint
Security Revenue by Vendor, 2011. The rating was published in the IDC report
"Worldwide Endpoint Security 2012–2016 Forecast and 2011 Vendor Shares
(IDC #235930, July 2012). The report ranked software vendors according to
earnings from sales of endpoint security solutions in 2011.