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According to a new status report from security vendor Symantec (Quote, Chart), home users are the target of 86 percent of attacks. Financial services ranked second, the target of 84 percent of phishing (define) attempts in the first half of 2006.
"Attackers see end users as the weakest link in the security chain and are constantly targeting them in an effort to profit," Arthur Wong, senior vice president of Symantec Security Response and Managed Services, said in a statement.
"Education doesn't make a difference," Alfred Huger, senior director of Symantec Security Response, told internetnews.com. Despite headlines and information campaigns, consumers remain vulnerable, said Huger.
Nearly two-thirds, or 69 percent, of hackers used vulnerabilities found in browsers.
In a surprising finding, Mozilla-based browsers led the list with 47 vulnerabilities, compared to 17 in the last report.
This combination of the insecure user and unsafe Web browser could result in a "profound impact" on online commerce, warned Huger.
As more consumers lose confidence in their browsers, there is a growth in effort to ensure transactional security, he added.
Symantec said 2,249 holes were discovered in the first half of 2006, the highest number of vulnerabilities ever reported.
E-mail users saw an 80 percent increase in phishing attempts, which dupe users into disclosing personal or financial information.
Spam, already more than half of e-mail traffic, rose just a modest 4 percent to 54 percent, Symantec said.
The company also pointed to a resurgence in polymorphic attacks, designed to change signature and shape to avoid filters.