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McAfee: It's The Largest Malware Rise in Four Years

In McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2012 (pdf), the security firm states that it detected a 1.5 million increase in malware samples since Q1 2012, the biggest increase detected in the last four years. The report also identifies new threats such as mobile "drive-by downloads," the use of Twitter for control of mobile botnets, and the appearance of mobile "ransomware."

"Over the last quarter we have seen prime examples of malware that impacted consumers, businesses, and critical infrastructure facilities," said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. "Attacks that we’ve traditionally seen on PCs are now making their way to other devices. For example, in Q2 we saw Flashback, which targeted Macintosh devices and techniques such as ransomware and drive-by downloads targeting mobile. This report highlights the need for protection on all devices that may be used to access the Internet."

McAfee notes that malware authors have taken a liking to the open-source Android platform, as virtually all new mobile malware detected in Q2 2012 was directed at Google's mobile OS. This mobile assault included SMS-sending malware, mobile botnets, spyware and destructive Trojans. Malware seemingly exploded into the mobile scene back in Q1 2012 as previously reported by the firm (pdf).

In addition to attacking Android, mobile ransomware and botnets are the latest cybercrime fads, McAfee reports. "Ransomware, steadily increasing quarter over quarter, has become a popular avenue for cybercriminals," the firm states. "Damage can range from loss of photos and personal files for home users to data encryption and demands for money for large enterprises. Ransomware is especially problematic as it can hold computers and data hostage, instantly damaging machines."

Infections related to botnets have reached a 12-month high, and the United States is typically the global hub of botnet control servers. Thumb drive and password-stealing malware also showed significant growth in Q2 with nearly 1.2 million new samples. Even more, McAfee Labs recorded an average of 2.7 million new bad URLs per month – scareware sites, phishing sites, etc – during the second quarter.

"In June, these new URLs were related to about 300,000 bad domains, which is equivalent to 10,000 new malicious domains every day," McAfee reports. "Of the new bad-reputation URLs, 94.2-percent host malware, exploits or code that have been specifically designed to hijack computers."

To read the full report, download and view the PDF file here. The findings are provided by the McAfee Labs team of 500 multidisciplinary researchers in 30 countries which "follows the complete range of threats in real time, identifying application vulnerabilities, analyzing and correlating risks, and enabling instant remediation to protect enterprises and the public."

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  • xendrome
    AKA: Time to scare people into buying our crappy product.
    Reply
  • jdog2pt0
    xendromeAKA: Time to scare people into buying our crappy product.
    Been using McAfee for years. Nothing more wrong with it than any other Firewall/Anti-virus suite out there. You're just like those morons that flame Firefox without any justifiable reasoning.
    Reply
  • Kami3k
    jdog2pt0Been using McAfee for years. Nothing more wrong with it than any other Firewall/Anti-virus suite out there. You're just like those morons that flame Firefox without any justifiable reasoning.
    Or we prefer products that never sucked to begin with.
    Reply
  • love the stupid trollish comments. they add so much to the discussion.
    Reply
  • azathoth
    Best defense against Mal-ware is user experience. If something seems fishy, don't click it.
    Reply
  • azraa
    Come on guys, talking about AVs of choice, is like talking about religion or politics on the interwebz, you will never win.

    We all have a personal opinion. Probably some may concur on what AVs the do NOT like, but thats it.
    Reply
  • zed273
    I wonder if McAfee's statistics count its latest update as a virus. Because it pretty much acted like one, cutting of my SIL's laptop's internet access entirely and had me spending hours trying to diagnose.

    Neither NOD32 nor MSE have EVER done this to ANY of my other PCs. Is that "justifiable reasoning" enough?
    Reply
  • A Bad Day
    xendromeAKA: Time to scare people into buying our crappy product.
    People that need AV won't be getting one, it's usually:

    A: "I'm smart enough to avoid all malware. Oh shi-"

    B: "Virus? What's that?"
    Reply
  • beayn
    I read this while uninstalling McAfee on machine #5 today alone (6 machines on friday and 6 more on thursay) because an Update breaks internet access.

    zed273 you're not the only one.

    jdog2pt0Been using McAfee for years. Nothing more wrong with it than any other Firewall/Anti-virus suite out there. You're just like those morons that flame Firefox without any justifiable reasoning.Read my message above. I work with dozens of AV suites every day. McAfee and Kaspersky are the two worst culprits for totally screwing systems up. Count yourself lucky for having used it for years without issues.
    Reply
  • spartanmk2
    Avast! is good enough for me :D
    Reply