KUALA LUMPUR: McAfee Labs has raised the alarm that the amount of malware targeted at Android devices jumped 76% since the last quarter, making it the most attacked mobile operating system
In its McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2011, it said this year was the busiest ever first half-year in malware history, including a first-ever appearance of Mac fake AV and a significant uptick in rootkits.
Senior vice president of McAfee Labs, Vincent Weafer said for this year, there was a record-breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the uptick is in direct correlation to popularity.
“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,” he said.
The report also stated the specific activity shaping the way cybercriminals operate, such as cybercrime “pricebooks” that determine the going rate for large email address lists, and acts of hacktivism and cyberwar.
McAfee Labs highlighted that with the vast amount of personal and business data now found on user’s mobile phones, mobile malware was steadily increasing, often mimicking the same code as PC-based threats.
In the second quarter of 2011, Android OS-based malware surpassed Symbian OS for the most popular target for mobile malware developers.
While Symbian OS and Java ME remain the most targeted to date, the rapid rise in Android malware in the second quarter indicated that the platform could become an increasing target for cybercriminals – affecting everything from calendar apps, to comedy apps to SMS messages to a fake Angry Birds updates.
McAfee Labs said with about 12 million unique samples for the first half of 2011, a 22 percent increase over 2010, this has been the busiest first half-year in malware history.
It said with the addition of 2Q numbers, the total malware samples in McAfee’s database had reached about 65 million, and McAfee researchers estimate that this “Malware Zoo” will reach at least 75 million samples by the year’s end.
McAfee also said Apple had now become more a target for malware authors because of more Mac users and organisations increasingly adopt Macs for business use.
“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,” it said.
McAfee Labs said another malware category which had been steadily growing was stealth malware.
It said cybercriminals hid malware in a rootkit to make malware stealthier and more persistent. This type of attack had been on the rise 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% over 2010.
McAfee Labs also highlighted concerns about hacktivism, primarily from the groups Anonymous and LulzSec.
These two groups were among some of the most prominent cyber news generators for 2Q.
The report also detailed hacktivist activity from Q2, with at least 20 global attacks reported in 2Q alone, and most allegedly at the hands of LulzSec.
Acts of cyberwar also occurred in 2Q, which included attacks on the US Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and an attack on South Korea’s National Agricultural Cooperative Federation.
As for spam, it said, though it was still at historic low levels, due in part to the Rustock takedown, McAfee Labs was expecting a sharp rise in activity over the coming months.
“A common method for cybercriminals 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 1 million emails is $25, whereas in England 1.5 million emails are worth $100,” it said.
Article source: http://www.theedgemalaysia.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=191859&Itemid=88
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