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Bad Hack Attacks

By now you have probably heard about Governor Sarah Palin's Yahoo e-mail account being hacked into. But, do you know how prevalent hacking on the internet actually is?

First of all, there are good hacks and there are bad hacks. Hacking is the act of finding a better way to do something on the internet. The good hacks are the ones that help you do something without violating any laws or infringing on anyone else. The bad ones can break laws or infringe.

According to

GENERAL MISUSE of the Internet

  • One-third of time spent online at work is non-work-related. (Websense, IDC)
  • Internet misuse at work is costing American corporations more than $85 billion annually in lost productivity. (Websense, 2003)
  • 80 percent of companies reported that employees had abused Internet privileges, such as downloading pornography or pirated software. (CSI/FBI Computer Crime and Security Survey, 2003)


  • 75% of companies cited employees as a likely source of hacking attacks. (CSI/FBI, 2003)
  • 45% of businesses had reported unauthorized access by insiders. (CSI/FBI, 2003)


  • Nearly 80 percent of instant messaging in companies is done over public IM services such as AOL, MSN and Yahoo, exposing companies to security risks. (Radicati, 2003)
  • There are more than 43 million users of consumer IM at work. (IDC, 2003)
  • Only one quarter of companies have a clearly defined policy on the user of IM at work. (, 2003)


  • Forty-five percent of the executable files downloaded through Kazaa contain malicious code. (Trusecure, 2004)
  • 73 percent of all movie searches on file-sharing networks were for pornography. (Palisade Systems, 2003)
  • A company can be liable for up to $150K per pirated work if it is allowing employees to use the corporate network to download copyrighted material. (RIAA, 2003)


  • 70 percent of porn is downloaded between 9am and 5pm. (SexTracker)
  • 37 percent of at-work Internet users in the US had visited an X-rated Web site from work. (ComScore Networks, Dec 2003)


  • 1 in 3 companies have detected spyware on their network. (Websense UK Survey, 2003)
  • There more than 7,000 spyware programs. (Aberdeen Group, 2003)


  • 77 percent of weekly online listening to Internet Radio takes place between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific time. (Arbitron, 2004)
  • 44 percent of corporate employees actively use streaming media. (Nielsen NetRatings, 2002)


  • Although 99% of companies use antivirus software, 82% of them were hit by viruses and worms. (CSI/FBI, 2003)
  • Blended threats made up 54 percent of the top 10 malicious code submissions over the last six months of 2003. (Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, 2003)
  • The number of malicious code attacks with backdoors, which are often used to steal confidential data, rose nearly 50% in the last year. (Symantec, 2003)

According to Web Applications Security Consortium;

Breach Labs which sponsors WHID has issued an analysis of the Web Hacking landscape in 2007 based on the incidents recorded at WHID. It took some time as we added the new attributes introduced lately to all 2007 incidents and mined the data to find the juicy stuff:
  • The drivers, business or other, behind Web hacking.
  • The vulnerabilities hackers exploit.
  • The types of organizations attacked most often.
To be able to answer those questions, WHID tracks the following key attributes for each incident:
  • Attack Method - The technical vulnerability exploited by the attacker to perform the hack.
  • Outcome - the real-world result of the attack.
  • Country - the country in which the attacked web site (or owning organization) resides.
  • Origin - the country from which the attack was launched.
  • Vertical - the field of operation of the organization that was attacked.
Key findings were:
  • 67% percent of the attacks in 2007 were "for profit" motivated. Ideological hacking came second.
  • With 20%, good old SQL injections dominated as the most common techniques used in the attacks. XSS finished 4th with 12 percent and the young and promising CSRF is still only seldom exploited out there and was included in the "others" group.
  • Over 44% percent of incidents were tied to non-commercial sites such as Government and Education. We assume that this is partially because incidents happen more in these organizations and partially because these organizations are more inclined to report attacks.
  • On the commercial side, internet-related organizations top the list. This group includes retail shops, comprising mostly e-commerce sites, media companies and pure internet services such as search engines and service providers. It seems that these companies do not compensate for the higher exposure they incur, with proper security procedures.
  • In incidents where records leaked or where stolen the average number of records affected was 6,000.
The full report can be found at Breach Security Network.

Who investigates bad hacking?

The FBI for one.

The collective impact of bad hacking is staggering. Billions of dollars are lost every year repairing systems hit by such attacks. Some take down vital systems, disrupting and sometimes disabling the work of hospitals, banks, and 9-1-1 services around the country.

Who is behind bad hacking attacks? It runs the gamut—from computer geeks looking for bragging rights…to businesses trying to gain an upper hand in the marketplace by hacking competitor websites, from rings of criminals wanting to steal your personal information and sell it on black markets…to spies and terrorists looking to rob our nation of vital information or launch cyber strikes.

Today, these computer intrusion cases—counterterrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal—are the paramount priorities of our cyber program because of their potential relationship to national security.

Combating the threat.

  • A Cyber Division at FBI Headquarters “to address cyber crime in a coordinated and cohesive manner”;
  • Specially trained cyber squads at FBI headquarters and in each of our 56 field offices, staffed with “agents and analysts who protect against investigate computer intrusions, theft of intellectual property and personal information, child pornography and exploitation, and online fraud”;
  • New Cyber Action Teams that “travel around the world on a moment’s notice to assist in computer intrusion cases” and that “gather vital intelligence that helps us identify the cyber crimes that are most dangerous to our national security and to our economy;”
  • Our 93 Computer Crimes Task Forces nationwide that “combine state-of-the-art technology and the resources of our federal, state, and local counterparts”;
  • A growing partnership with other federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and others—which share similar concerns and resolve in combating cyber crime.

Help the FBI catch suspects wanted in computer intrusion cases: Visit our Featured Fugitives—Cyber Crimes webpage to use the power of the web against the very criminals who seek to exploit it.

Among our recent cases and accomplishments:

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