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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Malware Attacks at Highest Level

McAfee report says that malware attacks remain at a very high level for the past 4 years. The reason is that malicious code authors became very inventive and constantly find new ways to attack various devices. Intel, which owns the security company, has recently announced the results of the Threats Report. The experts highlighted a 1,500,000 increase in malware within the last 6 months.

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500 experts working for McAfee Labs discovered nearly 100,000 malware samples daily, with the cyber attacks becoming more varied. Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, explained that the attacks which were traditionally seen targeting personal computers are currently being expanded to other mobile devices. The list of the targeted devices includes Apple's Mac devices that could be attacked by the Flashback Trojan or the “Find and Call” malware, which has successfully wormed its way into the Apple Store.

In addition, the number of attacks on mobile devices kept increasing after an explosion of mobile malware in the beginning of the year. McAfee points out that almost all new instances of the malware have been directed towards the Android OS, including mobile botnets, spyware and SMS-sending viruses. The security company also noticed the rise of ransomware – the malware that restricted access to a targeted device until the victim pays money to the attacker – moreover, it seems to become a popular instrument for cybercriminals. In the meantime, the cases of ransomware, usually targeting PCs, have risen with attacks that favored mobile devices.

Finally, cyber criminals have also found new methods to control botnets to stay anonymous, like using Twitter. It works in an interesting way: the botnets (computer networks of infected devices used by the intruders to send spam or to launch DDoS attacks) can be controlled via the social media website, where the attackers tweet commands to the infected machines. All in all, the number of botnet infections reached a 12 month high during the last quarter.

Aside from the Internet attacks, the malware is also being spread through USB thumb drives, and instances of such attacks showed significant increase as well, with 1,200,000 new samples of the AutoRun worm being detected. As for the password stealing malware, its samples also grown by 1,600,000.

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