Over 75 Million Unique Malware Samples Identified in Q4 2011



Security solutions provider McAfee released its Fourth Quarter 2011 report to reveal the details of the threat landscape that targeted computing devices in the last months of the year that passed.

The figures show that there were more than 75 million unique malware samples, this being the number that the company estimated for 2011.

When it comes to PC-based malware, the report actually shows a decline throughout the fourth quarter. However, the numbers are still high due to the newest rootkits and pieces of malware that really know how to make themselves unseen.

If the numbers of fake AVs and password-stealing Trojans showed a slight drop, mobile pieces of malware, especially ones that target Android platforms have been at an all-time high.


Around 9,300 sites were labeled as being malicious each day in the time span covered by the report. Statistically speaking, one in every 400 URLs led to some malevolent scheme or element, most of these sites being hosted in the United States, Netherlands, Canada and South Korea.

Surprisingly, in locations such as UK, Brazil and Argentina spam dropped significantly, however, experts noticed that malicious messages were becoming more sophisticated than before.

Finally, in the quarter that passed hack attacks mostly relied on vulnerabilities that were present in Windows remote procedure calls. On the other hand, cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks were surpassed by SQL injection attacks.

“The threat landscape continued to evolve in 2011, and we saw a significant shift in motivation for cyber attacks. Increasingly, we’ve seen that no organization, platform or device is immune to the increasingly sophisticated and targeted threats,” Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, said.

“On a global basis, we are conducting more of our personal and business transactions through mobile devices, and this is creating new security risks and challenges in how we safeguard our commercial and personal data.”


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