Significant Increase in Malware Attacks on Mobile Platforms Seen in Q2 2011 - Slide 6

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Though spam is still at historic low levels, due in part to the Rustock takedown, McAfee Labs still expects to see a sharp rise in activity over the coming months. A common method for cyber criminals to increase their volume of spam activity is to purchase a bulk list of emails in order to flood as much spam as possible to a widespread group of people. Whether it’s a botnet or a rental service, prices vary for such enterprises, often by location. For instance, in the United States, the going rate for one million emails is $25, whereas in England 1.5 million emails are worth $100.

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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