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McAfee Report Sees Malware Repurposed To Strike Various Economic Sectors

McAfee today released the  McAfee Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2012 , ( report) in which McAfee Labs revealed that sophisticated attacks originally targeting the financial services industry are now increasingly directed at other critical sectors of the economy, while an emerging set of new tactics and technologies are being implemented to evade industry-standard security measures. The report showed the continued proliferation of password-stealing trojans and advanced persistent threats (APTs) such as Operation High Roller and Project Bliztkrieg, and the expansion of their attacks to government, manufacturing and commercial transaction infrastructure targets.

“We are seeing attacks shifting into a variety of new areas, from factories, to corporations, to government agencies, to the infrastructure that connects them together,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “This represents a new chapter in cybersecurity in that threat-development, driven by the lure of financial industry profits, has created a growing underground market for these cybercrime weapons, as well as creative new approaches to thwarting security measures common across industries.”

Leveraging data from McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence (GTI) network, the McAfee Labs team of 500 multidisciplinary researchers in 30 countries follows the complete range of threats in real time, identifying application vulnerabilities, analyzing and correlating risks, and enabling instant remediation to protect enterprises and the public. In Q4 2012, McAfee Labs identified the following trends:

More Threats, More Availability, More Industries Targeted

As a group, unique password-stealing trojans grew 72 percent in Q4 as cybercriminals realized that user authentication credentials constitute some of the most valuable intellectual property stored on most computers. Now widely available, these trojans are increasingly appearing within customized threats or combined with other “off-the-shelf” threats available on the internet. Fourth quarter revelations around the Citadel trojan suggest that this trojan’s information theft capabilities are being deployed beyond the financial services sector.

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