2011 witnessed 75m unique malware samples, according to security vendor McAfee
Security vendor McAfee revealed that malware exceeded the company’s estimate of 75m unique malware samples last year.
Even though the release of new malware slowed in Q4 of 2011, mobile malware continued to increase and recorded its busiest year to date, the company stated.
This was documented in the company’s study, entitled McAfee Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2011.
The overall increase of PC-based malware, however, fell in Q4 2011 and was lower than in the corresponding quarter of 2010.
But, the cumulative number of unique malware samples gathered by McAfee report still is over the 75m mark.
Both the full year 2011 and the fourth quarter were by far the busiest periods for mobile malware, with Android being the most targeted platform for mobile malware, according to McAfee.
The main factor behind malware’s growth was supposed to be rootkits, or stealth malware, though they declined slightly in the fourth quarter.
McAfee Labs senior vice president Vincent Weafer said the threat landscape continued to evolve in 2011, and McAfee saw a significant shift in motivation for cyber attacks.
"Increasingly, we’ve seen that no organization, platform or device is immune to the increasingly sophisticated and targeted threats. On a global basis, we are conducting more of our personal and business transactions through mobile devices, and this is creating new security risks and challenges in how we safeguard our commercial and personal data," added Weafer.
Mac OS malware, on the other hand, has reportedly remained at very low levels in the last two quarters, as opposed to Q2 2011.
The number of new bad sites per day increased to 9,300 in Q4 from an average of 6,500 new bad sites in the previous quarter.
The company said that approximately one in every 400 URLs were malicious on average, and at their highest levels, approximately one in every 200 URLs were malicious, which takes the total of active malicious URLs to more than 700,000.
The US is the home for the largest number of malicious sites, followed by the Netherlands, Canada, South Korea and Germany.
The end of 2011 saw global spam reached its lowest point in years, particularly in the UK, Brazil, Argentina and South Korea.
Botnet growth bounced back in November and December after falling since August, with countries like Brazil, Columbia, India, Spain and the United States witnessing significant growths.
Cutwail is the most prevalent botnet, according to the report.
privacyrights.org revealed that data breaches through hacking, malware, fraud and insiders has more than doubled in 2011, as compared to 2009.
The major network threat in Q4 came via vulnerabilities in Microsoft Windows remote procedure calls, followed by SQL injection and cross-site scripting attacks.