Threats: Cybercrime Goes Global

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 @ 10:11 AM gHale


Mobile malware in Q3 almost doubled the previous quarter’s total and there was an all-time high in database breaches, a new threat report found.

In addition, there were jumps in categories of malware, including ransomware and signed binaries, according to the McAfee Threats Report: Third Quarter 2012. Rootkits and Mac malware continue to rise, while password-stealing Trojans and AutoRun malware also trended strongly upward.

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“Cybercrime exhibits few signs of slowing down,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “Though we tend to highlight the numbers, the fact is that we continue to see increased sophistication of attacks.”

“Cybercrime, hacktivism, and cyberwarfare are in a continual state of evolution,” he said. “Everyone from governments to large enterprises, small business and home users are facing a wider range of digital threats from these forces, as they gain more actionable intelligence on their victims, and leverage the newest attack platforms and exploits tools to launch their campaigns. We all need to equip ourselves with basic situation awareness to our online risks and how best to prevent and combat these threats.”

Each quarter, the McAfee Labs team of 500 multidisciplinary researchers in 30 countries follows the complete range of threats in real time, identifying application vulnerabilities, analyzing and correlating risks. This quarter, McAfee Labs identified the following trends:
Financial Fraud Ring Extends Worldwide Reach: Online financial fraud attacks spread worldwide in Q3. New research indicates Operation High Roller, a financial fraud ring identified earlier this year by McAfee Labs and Guardian Analytics, has now spread outside Europe, including to the United States and Colombia.
Ransomware Continues to Evolve: The number of unique samples of ransomware, which extorts money from its victims, grew by another 43 percent, making it one of the fastest-growing areas of cybercrime. Devices end up infected via links in email and social networks, drive-by downloads, and pay-per-install methods. Most malware typically accuses the user of visiting illegal websites, locks the computer, and then demands a payment to unlock the device.
Malware “Zoo” Tops 100 Million: While growth in malware slowed slightly this quarter, the overall number in the malware “zoo” still topped 100 million samples, as predicted. Mobile malware almost doubled the previous quarter’s total, while the Android platform remains the largest target. McAfee Labs now sees an average of 100,000 new malware samples per day.
Database Breaches at an All-Time High: The number of data breaches in 2012 has already surpassed the figure for the entire 2011 calendar year.
Stealth Malware Shows Steady Growth: Showing steady growth in Q3, this type of stealth malware is one of the “nastiest” classifications because they evade detection.
Web Threats Increase 20 percent: Among web and messaging threats, there was a 20 percent increase this quarter in suspicious URLs, with a vast number of these URLs hosting malware. Almost 64 percent of these newly discovered suspect URLs are in North America.



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