75 Million Unique Malware Samples By 2012

Imagine your body being targeted by 75 million viruses. That is exactly what’s happening to your digital devices. Laptops, desktops, netbooks, notebooks, Macs, iPads, iPhones, BlackBerrys, Androids, and Symbian mobile phones are all being targeted. The most recent threats report from McAfee Labs reveals a grim outlook and a variety of threats.

Mobile: Android has become the most popular platform for new malware, and this past quarter, was targeted exclusively by all new forms of mobile malware. The Symbian OS (for Nokia handsets) remains the platform with the all-time greatest number of viruses, but Android is clearly today’s main target.

Malware: Rootkits, or stealth malware, are one of the nastiest threats we face. They are designed to evade detection, and thus are able to lurk on a system for prolonged periods. Fake AV, also known as fake alert or rogue security software, has bounced back strongly from previous quarters, while AutoRun and password-stealing Trojans remain at relatively constant levels. Mac malware continues to show a bit of growth as well.

Spam: Although spam volume has decreased significantly, McAfee Labs has observed major developments in targeted spam, or what’s often called “spear phishing.” Much like malware, total numbers are dropping but the severity of the threat and sophistication of the technique remain high.

Social engineering: Subject lines used for social engineering spam messages vary depending on geography and language. Bait can include holidays or sporting events, and often differs by month or season. Attackers have shown remarkable insight into what works for specific people at specific times.

Spam botnets: New spam botnet infections continued steadily from February through August of 2011, but dropped somewhat in September.

Bad URLs: Website URLs, domains, subdomains, and particular IP addresses can be “bad” or malicious, either because they are used to host malware, phishing websites, or potentially unwanted programs.

Phishing websites: McAfee identified approximately 2,700 phishing URLs per day during the second quarter of 2011, a slight decrease from the same period in 2010, when they counted 2900 per day.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to Home Security Source discussing identity theft on YouTube.

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