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BizReport : Research archives : September 01, 2010

McAfee: 6 million malicious files in Q2

Spam may seem to be slowing down, or at least hitting a plateau, but scammers are still out there. They may only be changing their tactics. According to a recent McAfee report more than six million malicious files were found in Q2 2010, a high for malware for a quarter. The number also makes the first half of 2010 the most active ever on record.

by Kristina Knight

"[Malware] has been on a steady incline in the first half of 2010," said Mike Gallagher, senior vice president and chief technology officer of McAffee's Global Threat Intelligence. "It's also obvious that cybercriminals are becoming more in tune with what the general public is passionate about from a technology perspective and using it to lure unsuspecting victims. These findings indicate that not only should cybercrime education be more widespread, but that security organizations should move from a reactive to a predictive security strategy."

The report indicates:
• 10 million news malware pieces were found
• Portable storage device threats were the most common
• Fake anti-virus software increased
• Social media malware increased
• AutoRun and Trojan malware pieces are the most common

McAffe's researchers found more fraudulent businesses using events such as the World Cup to engage unwitting consumers. Interestingly enough, the researchers do not believe fraudsters used BPs massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to lure consumers. McAfee also noted that previously thought 'dead' botnets, Storm and Kraken, were revitalized during the reporting period.

Some of the most 'poisoned' areas online are celebrity names. McAfee's report notes that celebrities such as Prince, Cameron Diaz and others have had their names or identities used by fraudsters. According to researchers Cameron Diaz's name has jumped ahead of Jessica Biel's name as the 'most dangerous celebrity'. Cybercriminals use popular names like Cameron's or Jessica's to lure consumers to malware sites, hoping to infect their computers.

"This year, the search results for celebrities were safer than they've been in previous years, but there are still dangers when searching online," said Dave Marcus, security research with McAfee Labs. The report found that consumers using Cameron Diaz's name in an online search had a 10% chance of landing on a malicious website.

Tags: malicious websites, malware, McAfee, online security, online threats, spam

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