Q1 Threat Report: Surge in Malware, Drop in Spam - Slide 3

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Malware no longer affects just PCs. As Android devices have grown in popularity, the platform solidified its spot as the second most popular environment for mobile malware behind Symbian OS during the first three months of the year.

A McAfee Labs mobile application security whitepaper, released in conjunction with the “McAfee Threats Report,” discusses how most Android devices allow the “side-loading” of apps and are not restricted to getting them from a centralized app store, and there is no centralized place where Google can check all apps for suspicious behavior. (See Downloading from Mobile App Stores Is a Risky Business.) The researcher Lompolo recently found a series of Android applications carrying backdoor Trojans in the Android Market, and with the estimated download rate of tens of thousands to the hundreds of thousands, the number of users who could be affected is significant. In Q1 2011 McAfee Labs found that the most prominent types of Android mobile malware were Android/DrdDream, Android/Drad, Adnroid/StemySCR.A and AndroidBgyoulu, which affected everything from games to apps to SMS data.

The cybercriminals behind the Zeus crimeware toolkit have also directed attacks toward the mobile platform, creating new versions of Zitmo mobile malware for both Symbian and Windows Mobile systems to steal user bank-account information.

McAfee recently released the “McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2011.” With six million unique samples of recorded malware, Q1 2011 was the most active first quarter in malware history. The report revealed many of the trends that had a significant impact on the threat landscape, such as the takedown of the Rustock botnet, which resulted in spam remaining at its lowest levels since 2007, and confirmed that mobile malware is the new frontier of cybercrime.

“The Q1 Threats Report indicates that it’s been a busy start to 2011 for cybercriminals,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “Even though this past quarter once again showed that spam has slowed, it doesn’t mean that cybercriminals aren’t actively pursuing alternate avenues. We’re seeing a lot of emerging threats, such as Android malware and new botnets attempting to take over where Rustock left off, that will have a significant impact on the activity we see quarter after quarter.”

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