McAfee Reports Most Malware Ever in Early 2011

Malware refers to malicious software, which includes computer viruses and rootkits. McAfee recently released the McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2011. With six million unique samples of recorded malware, the first quarter of 2011 was the most active in malware history.

In February alone, approximately 2.75 million new malware samples were recorded.  Fake antivirus software had an active quarter as well, reaching its highest levels in more than a year, with 350,000 unique samples recorded in March.

Mobile malware is the new frontier of cybercrime.

Malware no longer affects just PCs. As Android devices have grown in popularity, the platform has solidified its position as the second most popular environment for mobile malware, behind Symbian OS, during the first three months of the year.

Cybercriminals often disguise malicious content by using popular “lures” to trick unsuspecting users. Spam promoting real or phony products was the most popular lure in most global regions. In Russia and South Korea, drug spam was the most popular, and in Australia and China, fake delivery status notifications were the spam of choice. So far this year, we’ve also seen a new trend of “banker” Trojans, malware that steal passwords and other data, using UPS, FedEx, USPS and the IRS as lures in their spam campaigns.

McAfee Labs saw significant spikes in malicious web content corresponding with major news events, such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, and major sporting events, with an average of 8,600 new bad sites per day. In the same vein, within the top 100 results of each of the daily top search terms, nearly 50% led to malicious sites, and on average contained more than two malicious links.

Protect yourself from these and other threats.

McAfee Wave locates, locks, or wipes your phone, and even restores your data when you trade it in for a new one. If necessary, you’ll be able to lock down your service remotely or wipe out important stored data to protect your privacy. You can back up your data directly or use the web to so remotely. You can access your data online from anywhere, or locate your missing phone and plot its location on a map. If it’s lost or stolen, SIM cards and phone calls can help get it back for you.

Invest in an identity protection service. There are times when you cannot withhold your Social Security number, but an identity protection service can monitor your personal and financial data. McAfee Identity Protection provides alerts if your information is misused, credit monitoring and unlimited credit checks, and if necessary, identity fraud resolution. (For more information, visit

Robert Siciliano is a McAfee consultant and identity theft expert. See him discuss mobile phone spyware on Good Morning America. (Disclosures)


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