McAfee Releases Q3 Report on Threats

Ralph DeFrangesco

McAfee recently released one of my all-time favorite publications, its quarterly threat report. This report is for Q3 and covers spam, social engineering, Web threats, cybercrime and malware.


For the second quarter, spam is up. As a percentage of mail, spam is at an all-time high of 92 percent, although it feels closer to 99 percent. The United States remains the number-one spam producer for the last three quarters. Rest assured, all is well in zombie land. The United States retained its title as the number-one zombie producer, with China and Brazil rounding out the top three spots.


Koobface, the worm that plagued so many social networking sites, continues to rear its ugly head, or should I say face. The bogus anti-virus business, rogue SEO tactics, and malware were the top Web threats in Q3.


From a cyber-crime perspective, McAfee reported on a case against Albert Gonzalez, a cyber criminal involved in many illegal online fraud and theft cases since 1981. He was charged with stealing 130 million credit card numbers from Heartland Payment Systems. Gonzalez and his accomplices operated from California, Illinois, Latvia, the Netherlands, and the Ukraine, and used SQL-injection to attack corporate systems.


In addition to the high-profile Gonzalez case, a DDOS blackmail attack was used against an Australian bookmaker (an odds maker) that demanded US $20,000 from the company.


Finally, the use of malware continues to crawl ever upward. The number of malware attacks is up since last year and we are only in Q3. Topping the charts is the fake AV scam that so many people have fallen victim to.


Let's put this in perspective for a moment. Even though we are seeing a substantial increase in cyber threats, according to a recent IT Business Edge post, only 15 percent of companies interviewed by IDC said that they believed that they could lose data to an outside hacker. So we need to still keep an eye on what's happening inside the network as well, of course.


I like reading the McAfee report for two reasons: First, it keeps me informed as to where the growth in cyber crime is. This is where you need to concentrate your resources.


Second, it gives me more ammunition when I go to executive management for additional funding. No company wants to be a statistic in the McAfee threat report.

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