Attacks that capitalize on vulnerabilities in popular Web browsing software and targeted malware and phishing efforts dominated the first six months of 2006, according to Symantec's latest Internet Security Threat Report.
Published on September 25, the twice-yearly analysis highlights continued growth of the browser vulnerability issue, finding that 69 percent of all the new threats unearthed by the company between Jan. 1 and June 30 attempted to take advantage of flaws in Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox and other popular Web applications.
The anti-virus market leader, based in Cupertino, Calif., said the relative ease with which malware code writers can isolate vulnerabilities in browsers and other Web-based programs continues to drive popularity of the attacks, compared to threats targeting client-side applications.
Internet Explorer remains the most frequently targeted Web browser, accounting for 47 percent of all such attacks, followed by Firefox, which accounted for 20 percent.
Threats that were designed to target vulnerabilities in multiple browsers, including Explorer, Firefox, Apple's Safari and others, made up 31 percent of attacks on the programs.
In total, Symantec detected 47 new vulnerabilities in Firefox and the Mozilla browser, 38 flaws in Explorer, and 12 issues in Safari, representing a 52 percent rise in browser-based problems compared to the 25 vulnerabilities recorded over the last six months of 2005.