Q1 Threat Report: Surge in Malware, Drop in Spam - Slide 5

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Spam may be at its lowest levels in years, but many botnets are in the position to fill the gap left by the decline of Rustock and Zeus; the competition includes Maazben, Bobaz, Lethic, Cutwail and Grum. There was a strong uptick in new botnet infections toward the end of Q1, most likely due to the reseeding process, where cyber criminals slow down activity in order to spend time rebuilding botnets. The botnet takedowns have resulted in an increase in the price of sending spam on the underground marketplace, showing the laws of supply and demand also apply to cybercrime.

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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