Significant Increase in Malware Attacks on Mobile Platforms Seen in Q2 2011 - Slide 4

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Next Significant Increase in Malware Attacks on Mobile Platforms Seen in Q2 2011-4 Next

There are more Mac users than ever before, and as organizations increasingly adopt Macs for business use, Apple now has become more a target for malware authors. Though historically the Apple platform has been unaffected by fake anti-virus (fake AV) software, activity in Q2 indicates that it is now being affected. Although this type of fake AV is the first of its kind, McAfee Labs does expect fake AV in general will drop off over time.

Another malware category that is demonstrating recent steady growth is stealth malware. The tactic of hiding malware in a rootkit is used by cyber criminals to make malware stealthier and more persistent, and has seen this type of attack gain in prominence over the past year, with high-profile attacks such as Stuxnet. Stealth malware has increased more rapidly in the last six months than in any previous period, up almost 38 percent over 2010.

McAfee recently released the McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2011, showing that the amount of malware targeted at Android devices jumped 76 percent since last quarter, to become the most attacked mobile operating system. 2011 has also resulted in the busiest ever first half-year in malware history, including a first-ever appearance of Mac fake AV and a significant uptick in rootkits, suggesting that McAfee’s comprehensive "Malware Zoo” collection will reach a record 75 million samples by the year’s end.

“This year we’ve seen record-breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the uptick is in direct correlation to popularity,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “Overall attacks are becoming more stealth and more sophisticated, suggesting that we could see attacks that remain unnoticed for longer periods of time. High-profile hacktivist groups have also changed the landscape by drawing a line between attacks for personal gain and attacks meant to send a message.”

The report also details specific activity shaping the way cyber criminals operate, such as cybercrime “pricebooks” that determine the going rate for large email address lists, and acts of hacktivism and cyber war.

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