McAfee Threats Report for Second Quarter 2012
In early September 2012, McAfee issued its second quarter threats report for 2012 in which McAfee Labs identified over 8 million new types of malware, an increase of 1.5 million or 23% over the first quarter of 2012. The report also identified new emerging threats such as mobile drive-by downloads, using Twitter to control mobile botnets (by taking advantage of unpatched exploits or vulnerabilities to enable hackers to gain root command access and control over mobile devices), and the proliferation of ransomware onto mobile devices (when the device owners are coerced into paying a “ransom” in order to remove the restrictions placed on the device by this type of malware).
Most of the mobile malware was directed at Android OS-devices and made up of Trojans, spyware, mobile botnets, and SMS-sending malware. The Flashback Trojan affected Mac OS X devices. Consequently, Windows PCs remained the largest target base but declined numerically as malware spread to mobile devices up to some 13,000 thus far in 2012 compared to less than 2,000 in 2011.
The McAfee Threats Report also noted the continuing downward trend of spam levels (in spite of a small increase in the second quarter) but emphasized the dangerous nature of spam and targeted spear phishing attacks (which appear to come from trusted sources but are seeking access to confidential data for financial or other gain). The first quarter report reported stunted growth in messaging botnets but the second quarter report showed a 12-month high in botnet infections which helped to drive spam activities. The top 3 messaging botnets continued to be Cutwail, Grum, and Lethic.(See also: Norton Cybercrime Report 2012: Where Does Canada Fit In? )