malware McAfee warns of increase in malware on all platforms

Security firm McAfee has warned of a significant increase in malware across all platforms in the first quarter of this year, with mobile devices and Macs being increasingly targeted.

Security firm McAfee has warned of a significant increase in malware across all platforms in the first quarter of this year, with mobile devices and Macs being increasingly targeted.

 
The company's Threats Report for the first three months of 2012 shows a worrying trend, with eight million new malware samples detected. The pace appears to be quickening too, which could result in 100 million different malware samples some time this year.
 
“In the first quarter of 2012, we have already detected 8 million new malware samples, showing that malware authors are continuing their unrelenting development of new malware,” said Vincent Weafer, SVP of McAfee Labs. “The same skills and techniques that were sharpened on the PC platform are increasingly being extended to other platforms, such as mobile and Mac; and as more homes and businesses use these platforms the attacks will spread, which is why all users, no matter their platforms, should take security and online safety precautions.”
 
PC malware has hit its highest point in four years, with 83 million malware samples collected in the first quarter, but it is the non-PC platforms that were the focus of many hackers in recent months. 
 
malware McAfee warns of increase in malware on all platforms
 
McAfee collected 8,000 malware samples for mobile devices, nearly 7,000 of which were for the Android platform, up from just 600 in the last three months of 2011, which is an astronomical increase of over 1,200 percent. However, most of these threats come from third-party app markets, not the official Android Market, which makes those who use Google's app store a lot safer.
 
Apple users can no longer rest on their laurels either, as hackers are increasingly attacking Mac computers. The Flashback Trojan was a particular menace, but McAfee detected around 250 new malware samples for the Mac, in addition to 150 fake anti-virus malware samples.
 
The report also found that spam levels dropped by more than one trillion messages per month, but botnets grew to nearly five million infected computers. These botnets can cost as little as $450 to set up, with the more damaging financial botnets costing just $2,399, so it's no wonder there is a rise in their use.
 
McAfee also found that the United States was the primary source and destination for many cyberattacks, including SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks. Compromised computers in the US acted as the perpetrators of these crimes, though they may have originated elsewhere, but many of the victims are also US users.