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McAfee: social media attacks on the rise, spam volume sees dramatic increase

McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2013

No matter what platform you are on, whether it be Windows Phone, Android, Windows 8, Apple OSX, or any other operating system, security is a major concern. According to the McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2013, which was released today, social media attacks are on the rise. Not only that, but global spam volume has also seen a dramatic increase in more than three years.

“McAfee Labs researchers have analyzed the threats of the first quarter of 2013 and recognized several familiar trends: steady growth in mobile malware and a rapid increase in general malware, including Facebook threat Koobface, AutoRun malware, and stealth malware that attacks the master boot record (MBR). Worldwide spam doubled during the quarter – as it makes a comeback after more than a year of decline,” the report stated.

According to the report, the Koobface worm, which was first discovered in 2008 and had remained somewhat dormant for the last year, saw a 3x increase during the first quarter of 2013. As McAfee points out, the Koobface worm surfaced to levels never seen before. This pretty much means that the cyber criminals see a big value in targeting social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

Global spam levels saw an increase after more than three years. So expect to see more “growth hormone” offers, “pump and dump” scams, and an escalation of spam campaigns in emerging markets. McAfee also saw a 30% increase in MBR related threats, including instances of StealthMBR, TDSS, Cidox, and Shamoon malware. For those that did not know, attacking the Master Boot Record allows an attacker to gain system control, persistence, and deep penetration capabilities, as McAfee points out.

The number of suspicious URLs saw in increase by 12% while the growth of mobile malware declined. PC malware samples increased 28%, bringing the total unique malware threats to more than 120 million. Even though there was a decline in mobile malware, Google’s Android platform saw an increase of 40% in malware during the quarter. The report made no mention about any other platform, including Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform.

Hit the source link to download the entire report in PDF format. It’s worth a read!

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