Attacks in ’13: 200 Per Minute

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 @ 06:03 PM gHale

There were over 200 new attacks every minute in 2013 using a variety of dangerous malware types, a new report said.

McAfee Labs, which conducted the report, said it is detecting and combating more than three new threats every second.

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The report, entitled McAfee Labs Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2013, said the trend is part of a wider boom in cybercrime, with a total of 200 million malware variants uncovered in Q4 2013. By contrast, 110 million malware variants ended up detected during the same period in 2012.

The McAfee researchers highlighted an increase in Point of Sale (PoS) malware as another key trend.

“During the last few years we have seen a notable rise in the malware families POSCardStealer, Dexter, Alina, vSkimmer, Project Hook and others, many of which are available for purchase online,” the report said.

The report added criminals behind the campaigns are particularly dangerous as they are constantly developing new ways to bypass traditional defenses.

McAfee said the move is likely the result of the success of PoS malware operations, such as the recent attack on Target. The Target breach occurred between November 27 and December 15 last year, and saw hackers compromise 40 million credit and debit card accounts.

The researchers reported millions of customer details sold on a number of cyber black markets.

“What happened to the millions of credit card numbers stolen from Target? We have tracked these and continue to see them appear in large lots (dumps) in key ‘carding’ marketplaces. Typically the thieves will drop data in batches of one million to four million numbers,” the report said.

McAfee also highlighted a marked spike in mobile malware and ransomware levels. The company reported collecting 2.47 million new Android samples in 2013. The figure marks a 197 percent increase on the number collected in 2012. Ransomware levels also doubled since Q4 2012 to two million in Q4 2013.

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