When Cisco came out with its third quarter report, I noted that malware encounters hit a high point in August. Enterprise users experienced 140 such encounters, mostly coming through search engines and services.
According to Cisco's 4Q10 Global Threat Report, 140 encounters are just child's play. In October, there was an average of 250 malware encounters in an enterprise setting. But, as Cisco points out, there was an overall rise in malware in 2010. Web malware grew 139 percent from 2009. The report went on to say:
Search engine-related traffic resulted in approximately 8 percent of web malware encountered in the fourth quarter, with the majority occurring from Google (3.84 percent). The 3.84 percent quarterly average represents a remarkable decline; in the third quarter, Google search referrers resulted in 7 percent of all web malware encounters blocked by Cisco ScanSafe. Collectively, malicious webmail resulted in only 1percent of encounters for the quarter.
The last few months of 2010 were also dominated with stories about WikiLeaks and Stuxnet, and Cisco's report shows how these world events have impacted the network. In a release, Mary Landesman, market intelligence manager at Cisco, stated:
When Amazon terminated service to WikiLeaks.org for violations of its terms of service, users flocked to distributed file-sharing networks, such as BitTorrent, to obtain copies of the leaked cables from the U.S. Department of State. We noted a steady level of activity around Bit Torrent through the majority of the quarter, with a sharp and prolonged increase in early December, coinciding with the termination.
One bit of good news: Spam levels continued to drop.