You read that right. While the US government sits high on its perch, snipers are taking aim 60 million times a day. The Senate Security Operations Center alone receives 13.9 million of those attempts per day.
The US National Security Agency is probably the most sophisticated group of security hackers in the world. Many will argue this point. The fact is, without NSA, US STRATCOM, which directs the operation and defense of the military's Global Information Grid, and US CERT, attacks on our critical infrastructures would be successful. We'd be living in the dark, telephones wouldn't work, food wouldn't be delivered to your supermarket and your toilet wouldn't flush.
Like in the rest of the world, the attacks are increasingly targeted and using application flaws, including Office and Acrobat. "In the last five months of 2009, 87 Senate offices, 13 Senate committees and seven other offices were attacked by spear-phishing attacks, which appeared as e-mail messages to staffers, urging them to open infected attachments or click on bad links." No matter how good their defenses are, nothing's 100% effective. Some attacks get through.
The Adobe Reader and Acrobat is a cross platform application that opens and it's the Portable Document Format (PDF) ubiquitous on most PCs. Criminal hackers discovered a flaw that allows for an injection of hostile code into unprotected systems. Studies show in the last quarter of 2009 as many as 80% of all web-based attacks were directed at PDFs.
Adobe Flash is also vulnerable software becoming standard on most PCs where multimedia is present. The Register reports Adobe advises users to upgrade to Acrobat version 9.3.1 and Reader version 9.3.1, as explained in a bulletin here.
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Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Speaker discussing Identity Theft Ring Busted on MSNBC