Going rate of one million stolen email addresses is $25, says cyber security company
Google’s operating system (OS) for mobile phones, Android, has become a favourite target for cyber criminals with the amount of malware targeted at Android devices jumping 76% since last quarter, to become the most attacked mobile OS.
According to computer security company McAfee’s latest ‘Threats Report: Second Quarter 2011’, this year has also resulted in the busiest ever first half-year in malware history.
In the second quarter (2Q) of 2011, Android OS-based malware surpassed Symbian OS for the most popular target for mobile malware developers.
The report also said that while Symbian OS and Java ME remain the most targeted to date, the rapid rise in Android malware indicates that the platform could become an increasing target for cybercriminals – affecting everything from calendar apps, to SMS messages to a fake Angry Birds updates.
McAfee Labs senior vice-president Vincent Weafer said, "This year we’ve seen record-breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the uptick is in direct correlation to popularity."
Weafer also said that cyber criminals are building sophisticated malware which are difficult to detect.
Weafer said, "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 says that Apple now has become more a target for malware authors as well. The Apple platform has been affected by fake anti-virus (fake AV) software, said McAfee.
The company added that stealth malware — the tactic of hiding malware in a rootkit — has grown rapidly by 38% in the last six months, with high-profile attacks such as Stuxnet.
The report also details how cybercriminals operate by using cybercrime "pricebooks" that determine the going rate for large email address lists, and acts of hacktivism and cyberwar.
It also reveals that at present cyber criminals sell a million email addresses for as little as $25 in the US, whereas in England 1.5 million emails are worth $100.