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Security firm says hackers got tougher in 2011

Published by Steve Coleman on January 17, 2012

Trend Micro says 2011 may have been the year of the hacker.

The company at least called 2011 "The Year of Data Breaches" after large, well-known companies had their reputations tarnished after concerted data breach attacks caused "significant collateral damage."

This year's annual year-in-review says Trend Micro researchers tracked a huge proliferation of mobile malware, especially attacks aimed at Android phones.

Hackers also tapped into social media sites in growing numbers and collected private personal data from millions of users. Legislators have since started demanding that the companies behind them tighten their security procedures.

The number of reported encounters with hackers fell from 4,651 in 2010 to 4,155 in 2011, but exploit attacks evolved to become more higher complex and sophisticated, Micro Trend says.

In the US, five years of work between the FBI and Micro Trend led to some of the biggest cyber busts ever, including Operation Ghost Click. The two-year project took down a long-standing network of four million and the people behind them in Estonia.

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