Symantec blocked more than 5.5 billion malicious attacks in 2011; an increase of more than 81% from the previous year.

This increase was in large part a result of a surge in polymorphic malware attacks, particularly from those found in Web attack kits and socially engineered attacks using email-borne malware.

Targeted attacks exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities were potentially the most insidious of these attacks. With a targeted attack, it is almost impossible to know when you are being targeted, as by their very nature they are designed to slip under the radar and evade detection.

Unlike these chronic problems, targeted attacks, politically-motivated hacktivist attacks, data breaches and attacks on Certificate Authorities made the headlines in 2011. Looking back at the year, we saw a number of broad trends.

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