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PC malware ‘highest in 4 years’

Dubai, June 3, 2012

PC malware reached its highest levels in four years in the first quarter of the year, while malware targeting the Android platform recorded a steep increase, said a report.

Mac malware was also on the rise, indicating that total malware could reach the 100 million mark within the year, according to McAfee’s released the McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2012, which exposes an increase in malware across all platforms.

“In the first quarter of 2012, we have already detected eight million new malware samples, showing that malware authors are continuing their unrelenting development of new malware,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs.

“The same skills and techniques that were sharpened on the PC platform are increasingly being extended to other platforms, such as mobile and Mac; and as more homes and businesses use these platforms the attacks will spread, which is why all users, no matter their platforms, should take security and online safety precautions.”

Mobile malware explosion

Mobile malware raced up a significant incline during the first quarter of 2012, with 8,000 total mobile malware samples collected.  This large increase was due in part to McAfee Labs’ advancements in the detection and accumulation of mobile malware samples.

Financial profit is one of the main motivators for spreading malware on the Android platform, as identified by McAfee Labs malware researcher Carlos Castillo in a recent blog post.

Nearly 7,000 Android threats have been collected and identified through the end of Q1, a more than 1200 percent increase compared with the 600 Android samples collected by the end of Q4 2011. The majority of these threats stems from third-party app markets, and is typically not found in the official Android market.

Malware increase in PCs and Macs

By the end of 2011, McAfee Labs collected more than 75 million malware samples.  Q1 2012 had the largest number of PC malware detected per quarter in the last four years.

This increase brought the grand total to 83 million pieces of malware samples by the end of Q1, up from 75 million samples at the end of Q4 2011. Major contributors to the total were strong increases in rootkits, a stealth form of malware, as were password stealers, which reached approximately one million new samples in Q1.

In Q1, email continued to be a medium used for highly targeted attacks, and nearly all targeted attacks began with a spear phish.

As the Flashback Trojan began to wreak havoc among Apple Mac users in March, Mac malware had already been growing at a consistent rate. Despite the growth, Mac malware is still significantly less prevalent than PC malware, with approximately 250 new Mac malware samples, and approximately 150 new Mac fake anti-virus malware samples in the first quarter of the year. – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Mobile | PC | Virus | Malware | McAfee | Mac | Trojans |

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