Cisco: Cyber Scams to Increase on Non-Windows PCs in 2011

Dennis Faas's picture

Analysts from Cisco, a worldwide leader in computer-based networking technology, have released their annual security report for 2010.

The report reveals several interesting new trends, one of which is the revelation that attacks on non-Windows platforms, particularly those used on smartphones and tablet computers, are growing steadily in number.

According to Cisco, a large part of the reason these alternative platforms are being attacked more frequently has to do with the determination of PC (Windows-based) application vendors that consistently patch vulnerabilities and prevent scammers from making money.

Windows Platform No Longer the 'Slowest Hiker'

"Everyone knows the joke about the two hikers and the hungry bear in which the swifter hiker explains his footrace is not against the bear but the other hiker," the report reads. "The cybercriminal bears have been feasting on the 'slowest hiker' Windows platform for the last decade. But with increased security in the Windows operating system and applications, the bears are looking elsewhere to satisfy their hunger." (Source:

Mobile users are those who should be most alarmed by this trend. According to Cisco analyst Patrick Peterson, the company is seeing a growing number of attacks target smartphones and cellphones.

Number of 'Money Mules' Increases

But hackers have also been using two other attacks to make quick and easy cash. The first is called 'money muling,' where people are enlisted to establish a new bank account in order to help hackers launder money from scams. The mule acts as a middleman between the scammer and ill-gotten funds. Cisco says this kind of cybercrime will increase this year.

An even easier form of hack are attack toolkits, or software programs used to launch infiltrations of networked computers. The Zeus Trojan was a popular type of attack toolkit last year, and Cisco expects we'll see more advanced versions of it in 2011.

There was some good news: spam levels were down considerably last year, the first dip of this kind in the Internet's history. (Source:

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