IDG News Service – (International) McAfee reports big spike in malware. PC malware had its “busiest quarter in recent history,” according to McAfee’s quarterly security report released May 23. The security company registered the biggest increase in malware in 4 years during the first quarter of 2012, bringing the total number of samples to 83 million. Fake antivirus programs declined in popularity, but software with faked security signatures, rootkits, and passwordstealing trojans rose. McAfee counted about 200,000 new examples of passwordstealing trojans. Software is “signed” by the vendor to tell users it is safe to install. A user is more likely to trust Microsoft or McAfee, for example, than an unknown vendor. Scammers capitalize on that trust when they forge the digital signature of a trusted provider to boost the chances of having their malware successfully installed on the user’s computer. Security researchers began to warn that forged security signatures would increase after the success of the proliferation of the Stuxnet and Duqu malware programs that used that deception. Among botnets, Cutwail was most active during the quarter, recruiting more than a million new machines. Nearly half of all new botnet control servers were in the United States. The report also noted a dramatic increase in malware designed to attack mobile devices that run Android. It also found that most mobile malware originated in and targeted China and Russia. Malware targeting Apple computers also continued to rise steadily.
Ali Loney, on May 23, 2012