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9/4/2012
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McAfee: Close To 100K New Malware Samples Per Day In Q2

Biggest bump in four years in number of new malware samples found by security vendor

Malware writers went on a record-breaking tear in the second quarter of this year, pumping out some 100,000 new samples per day, according to a new report from McAfee.

McAfee says there was a 1.5 million increase in malware since the first quarter of 2012, closing in on a rate of nearly 100,000 unique malware samples per day. "Unique malware samples in our 'zoo' collection number 1.5 million more this quarter than last. At this rate we will almost certainly see 100 million samples by next quarter and possibly the first 10-million-sample quarter," McAfee said in its new report.

The hot new threats emerging in Q2 were drive-by mobile downloads, mobile ransomware, and using Twitter to control mobile botnets. "Attacks that we've traditionally seen in PCs are now making their way to other devices. For example, in Q2 we saw Flashback, which targeted Macintosh devices and techniques such as ransomware and drive-by downloads targeting mobile. This report highlights the need for protection on all devices that may be used to access the Internet," said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, in a statement.

Android malware, by far, accounted for most of the new malware McAfee detected, and it was a combination of SMS-borne malware, mobile botnets, spyware, and Trojans. An unnerving trend is an increase in ransomware attacks, where cybercriminals are holding computers and data hostage in exchange for money or some forms of payment.

Twitter is increasingly being used as a command-and-control infrastructure for mobile botnets, using tweets for commands, up from close to 90,000 new variants in the first quarter to more than 120,000 in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, McAfee also found 2.7 million new bad URLs each month in the second quarter, with some 10,000 new malicious domains each day. Of the bad-reputation URLs, nearly 95 percent were housing malware for hijacking victim machines.

McAfee's full report is available here (PDF) for download.

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Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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