news_Protect your computer against summer threats

July 5, 2011

Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, Zurich, Switzerland, July 5, 2011 - VASCO Data Security Inc. (Nasdaq: VDSI; ), a leading software security company specializing in authentication products, today announces the results of its aXsGUARD Gatekeeper Internet Threat Survey. 400 small and medium enterprises with 5 to 250 internet users were surveyed during 2010. The survey focused on mail and web traffic. The main conclusion is that, starting from September, a tremendous decline in the number of rejected and SPAM mails can be noticed. The blocking of three major worldwide botnets can explain this relapse.

A botnet is an accumulation of infected computers or bots that have been taken over by hackers – so called bot herders. Generally, the computers connected in a botnet are infected by a virus, such as a Trojan horse or a computer worm. Trojan horses are destructive programmes masqueraded as benign software applications. However, they can allow a hacker remote access to a target computer system, so that he can execute various operations, such as data theft, downloading or uploading files or adding the computer to the malicious botnet. Computer worms are a type of malware that multiplies itself and uses the computer network to spread the copies of themselves. The term botnet is often associated with the performance of malicious tasks or functions. The bot herder can control the botnet from a distance and cause damage at the moment he himself decides to.

In 2010, 3 large botnets were active on the world wide web. The results of the aXsGUARD survey 2010 show a growing amount of rejected mails during the year, with a peak in August of more than 97 million. Also the spam that was found on mails from non-blacklisted servers peaked with 31.22 %. In September, the first major botnet was blocked, which can be noticed in the relapse to 75 million mails and 21.64% SPAM. Two other botnets were rounded up in November and December, which lead to respective 53 and 39 million rejected mails – a staggering decline of 60 % - and 20.40 % resp. 11.00 % SPAM mails.

Traditionally, rejected mails and SPAM mails come to a head in the summer months. People have more time to surf on the internet and companies are not as vigilant about the internet use of their employees. Moreover, in July and August, students have more time than during the year. It is suspected that there is a connection between the students’ spare time and the number of viruses and botnets developed in the summer months.
With the summer months coming closer, VASCO advises the internet user some measures for a better ‘internet hygiene’:

  • Install a reliable firewall. Vulnerable services are suppressed by a firewall, so your network is protected against outside attacks.
  • Make sure your anti-virus software is up-to-date. This software averts, traces and removes malware, for instance computer worms or Trojan horses. With so many different viruses swerving around, a good anti-virus would be no luxury.
  • Do not open attachments in mails from senders you do not know. After all, it must be clear that not every internet user has good intentions.
  • Surf with common sense. Avoid websites and doings of which you imagine they can cause harm.

“With these figures, we want to make all internet users attentive to the vulnerabilities on the internet, both for companies and for end-users. In holiday periods, certain companies are less vigilant and not always aware that a lot of damage can be caused by not taking evident security measures into account. We’d like to encourage end-users to urge their banks and applications providers to install better security and strong authentication,” explains Jan Valcke, President and COO at VASCO Data Security. “We therefore stress the importance of automatic solutions that help companies protect their safety on the internet. aXsGUARD Gatekeeper provides different modules such as VPN, firewall, anti-virus, hacker detection and content scanning, helping companies to keep virtual vermin out.”

VASCO is a leading supplier of strong authentication and e-signature solutions and services specializing in Internet security applications and transactions. VASCO has positioned itself as a global software company for Internet security serving a customer base of approximately 10,000 companies in more than 100 countries, including more than 1,700 international financial institutions. VASCO’s prime markets are the financial sector, enterprise security, e-commerce and e-government.

Forward Looking Statements:
Statements made in this news release that relate to future plans, events or performances are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements (1) are identified by use of terms and phrases such as “expect”, “believe”, “will”, “anticipate”, “emerging”, “intend”, “plan”, “could”, “may”, “estimate”, “should”, “objective” and “goal”, “possible”, “potential”, and similar words and expressions, but such words and phrases are not the exclusive means of identifying them, and (2) are subject to risks and uncertainties and represent our present expectations or beliefs concerning future events. VASCO cautions that the forward-looking statements are qualified by important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements. These risks, uncertainties and other factors have been described in greater detail in the Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2009 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and include, but are not limited to, (a) risks of general market conditions, including currency fluctuations and the uncertainties in world economic and financial markets, (b) risks inherent to the computer and network security industry, including rapidly changing technology, evolving industry standards, increasing numbers of patent infringement claims, changes in customer requirements, price competitive bidding, and changing government regulations, and (c) risks specific to VASCO, including, demand for our products and services, competition from more established firms and others, pressures on price levels and our historical dependence on relatively few products, certain suppliers and certain key customers. Reference is made to VASCO's public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for further information regarding VASCO and its operations.

This document may contain trademarks of VASCO Data Security International, Inc. and its subsidiaries, including VASCO, the VASCO “V” design, DIGIPASS, VACMAN, aXsGUARD and IDENTIKEY.

For more information contact:
Jochem Binst, +32 2 609 97 00, [email protected]