Malware has been on the Rise

Malware has been on the Rise

Malware is the thing to watch out for these days. McAfee says they tracked more than six million different samples of unique malware in the first quarter alone. These figures make the first quarter the most active quarter in the history of malware problems.

In a statement, Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, said: “It was a busy start to 2011 for cybercriminals.

McAfee added that February was the most active month in terms of malware. In February 2011, there were only 2.75 million samples. According to the company, in March 2011, there were also more than 350,000 fake antivirus software samples, which was the highest level in more than a year; however, partly due to the disappearance of the Rustock robot network, spam is at its lowest level since 2007.

“Even if this last quarter has once again shown that spam has slowed, this does not mean that cybercriminals are not actively seeking other avenues,” Weafer continued. “We see many emerging threats, such as Android malware and new botnets that are trying to take over from Rustock, that will have a significant impact on the business we see quarter after quarter.”

The most popular operating system for mobile malware is still Symbian, but McAfee reported that Android is gaining ground over Symbian and has come in second place. McAfee thinks that Android is not the number one because Google allows Android applications to load laterally. This means that it does not have a main location where it checks applications for possible suspicious behaviour.

Just last week, Google had to remove more than 20 applications from its Android market due to malware problems. NetQuin, a mobile security company, has also identified more than 20 Android applications filled with malware that have gone so far as to use auto-dialing phones to accumulate high user fees.

When McAfee was dealing with spam, he was tracking more than 1.5 trillion messages every day, but fortunately, this figure is less than half of what it was just a year ago.

Government agencies around the world are working hard to fight cybercrime. In September, dozens of international cybercriminals responsible for the creation and dissemination of the Zeus zombie network were arrested. In addition, thanks to Microsoft, FireEye (an anti-malware company), the University of Washington and Pfizer (a pharmaceutical company), Rustock was dismantled in March.

In their statement, McAfee warned that the creators of the Zeus robot are working to merge the Zeus code with the SpyEye botnet. This would affect banking and online transactions, which could cause major problems if it is not processed.

“There was a sharp increase in new botnet infections towards the end of the first quarter, probably due to the reseeding process, where cybercriminals slow down activity to spend time rebuilding botnets,” McAfee said. “The dismantling of botnets has led to an increase in the price of sending spam to the underground market, which shows that the laws of supply and demand also apply to cybercrime.”

So why do people get caught up in these threats? Cybercriminals are very sophisticated these days. They give the impression that their scams look legitimate, so it is sometimes difficult to say that it is a threat until it is too late. It seems that spam that promotes a real product seems to attract most people. IGNORE emails announcing iPads and HDTVs. McAfee also noted an increase in “banker” Trojans. They attract people by talking about things like UPS, FedEx, USPS and the IRS. Unfortunately, in addition to this, scammers also benefit from crisis events such as the earthquake and tsunamis in Japan.

It is just important to be careful what you open or download before you do it. If you are careful and take the necessary precautions, you should be able to avoid any problems.

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