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E-mail viruses most likely to appear in the morning

Cybercriminals tend to e-mail viruses from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., a new Global Security Report reveals.


Eight in the morning is a good time to grab some coffee, but not to check your e-mail.

The number of viruses sent out each day peaks between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. EST, according to the Global Security Report released by security research firm Trustwave this week.

"The number of executables and viruses sent in the early morning hours increased," reads the report. "The spike is likely an attempt to catch people as they check e-mails at the beginning of the day."

Using real-world data collected in 2011 from more than 300 incident response and forensic investigations in 18 countries, along with analyzing 16 billion e-mails from 2008 to 2011, Trustwave compiled this in-depth report that looks at security trends, vulnerabilities, and more.

Trustwave also looked into which month of the year more viruses were sent and concluded that viruses shot up in August and reached a peak in September. Overall, 3 percent of viruses sent through e-mail came in August and September.

"The time from compromise to detection in most environments is about six months," reads the report. "Therefore, if these methods were successful, March 2012 should be a busy month for incident responders and breach disclosures."

Other interesting findings in Trustwave's Global Security Report:

What cybercriminals are looking for: Customer records are the No. 1 thing attackers look for, which make up 89 percent of the breached data investigated. Trade secrets and intellectual property are a distant second with 6 percent.

Franchises and chain stores are major targets: Industries with franchise and chain stores are top targets because they often use the same IT systems across stores. If an attacker can break into one store's system, most likely they can get into several locations. More than one-third of 2011 investigations happened in franchise businesses.

Global businesses have weak passwords: After analyzing more than 2 million business passwords, Trustwave found that the most common password used by global businesses is "Password1."