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Report shows growth in Android-based malware

Anuradha Shukla | Aug. 22, 2013
35% growth rate indicated by the McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2013.

Android-based malware achieved a 35 percent growth rate, according to the McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2013.

This growth, according to McAfee Labs, is higher than the growth in early 2012 and the researchers registered twice as many new ransomware samples in the second quarter as compared to quarter one.

McAfee Labs researchers also identified a 16 percent increase in suspicious URLs and a 50 percent increase in digitally-signed malware samples in the second quarter of 2013.

This period was also marked by multiple attacks on the global Bitcoin infrastructure and U.S. and South Korean military assets.

“The mobile cyber crime landscape is becoming more defined as cyber gangs determine which tactics are most effective and profitable,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president, McAfee Labs. “Tactics such as the dating and entertainment app scams benefit from the lack of attention paid to such schemes; while others simply target the mobile paradigm’s most popular currency: personal user information.” 

Common mobile strategies

Cyber criminals use several mobile strategies to trap innocent victims. Few common methods are using banking malware, fraudulent dating apps, Trojanised apps and fake tools.

Attackers also adjust their tactics on a regular basis and over the past two quarters, McAfee Labs has catalogued more ransomware samples than in all previous periods combined.

In the second quarter of 2013, malware signed with legitimate certificates increased to 1.2 million new samples representing 50 percent increase from previous quarters. 

An increase in suspicious URLs indicates the importance of infected sites to distribute malware. The total number of suspect URLs tallied by McAfee Labs reached 74.7 million at the end of June 2013. 

McAfee Labs also recorded an increase in global spam volume through the second quarter. More than 5.5 trillion spam messages were recorded in this quarter representing about 70 percent of global email volume.


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