According to F-Secure, one of the leading antivirus and security software makers, cyber criminals now turn their efforts to attacking individuals that have highly valuable information rather than regular computer users that have no useful info at all.
Typical malware that affects thousands or even hundreds of thousands of computers around the world is still used in targeted attacks. It helps to find people who work for specific companies and deal with highly valuable data. After such targets have been traced, criminals launch sophisticated attacks against them. They use yet unknown examples of malicious parasites to steal what they need. Those pests are never being used against regular users, so there is a very little chance that such malware will ever get to antivirus makers and be analyzed.
F-Secure compares targeted attacks with a professional spying. As Mikko Hypponen, director of antivirus research, says, before 2003 they were only “fighting hobbyists who wrote viruses for fun”. Around 2003 hobbyists “disappeared and got replaced by criminals who wrote malware to make money.” But now the company is also seeing spies, whose intent is stealing valuable information.
An informative video from F-Secure regarding targeted attacks is freely available on YouTube. It’s highly recommended.