Report: Malware at all-time high

Report: Malware at all-time high

An average of 60,000 new pieces of malware identified per day

McAfee's Threat Report for the third quarter of 2010 paints a grim picture for security officers: malware growth is at an all-time high.

In a statement, McAfee said an average of 60,000 new pieces of malware were identified per day. This figure had almost quadrupled since 2007.

"At the same time, spam levels decreased in volume this quarter, both globally and in local geographies. Spam hit a two year low this quarter while malware continued to soar," McAfee said.

The company warned, "Most recently, cybercriminals unleashed a Zeus botnet that is aimed at mobile devices and designed to intercept SMS messages to validate transactions. As a result, the criminal can perform all bank transactions, stealing funds from unsuspecting victims. McAfee also saw an increase in email campaigns attempting to deliver the Zeus botnet, under the disguise of the following recognised organisation names."

This report looks in-depth at the Stuxnet worm, which appears to have been crafted specifically to target the nuclear facility capabilities of Iran. More relevant to most IT admins, though, are the findings and analysis of social engineering attacks, and the potential risks associated with social networking.

"Our Q3 Threat report shows that cyber criminals are not only becoming more savvy, but attacks are becoming increasingly more severe,"senior vice-president and chief technology officer of Global Threat Intelligence for McAfee, Mike Gallagher.

"Cyber criminals are doing their homework, and are aware of what's popular, and what's insecure. They are attacking mobile devices and social networking sites, so education about user activity online, as well as incorporating the proper security technologies are of utmost importance."

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