McAfee, Inc. (NYSE:MFE) today released the McAfee Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2010, revealing a steady growth of threats to mobile platforms. The number of pieces of new mobile malware in 2010 increased by 46 percent compared with 2009. The report also uncovered 20 million new pieces of malware in 2010, equating to nearly 55,000 new malware threats every day. Of the almost 55 million total pieces of malware McAfee Labs has identified, 36 percent was created in 2010. Concurrently, spam accounted for 80 percent of total email traffic in Q4 2010, the lowest point since the first quarter of 2007.

“Our Q4 Threats Report shows that cybercriminals are keeping tabs on what’s popular, and what will have the biggest impact from the smallest effort,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. “In the past few quarters, malware trends have been very similar in different geographies, but in the last quarter we’ve seen a significant shift in various regions, showing that cybercriminals are tapped in to trends worldwide. McAfee Labs also sees the direct correlation between device popularity and cybercriminal activity, a trend we expect to surge in 2011.”

Mobile Threats, Botnet Infections Increase

Threats to mobile platforms are not new. However, as more consumers use mobile devices and tablets in their daily lives and at work, cybercriminals have taken note. During the last several years, McAfee Labs has seen a steady growth in the number of threats to mobile devices. Some of the most interesting mobile threats of Q4 2010 were SymbOS/Zitmo.A and Android/Geinimi. SymbOS/Zitmo.A was a high-profile threat that struck early in the quarter. The creators of the Zeus botnet repurposed an old version of a commercial spyware package. Android/Geinimi, a Trojan inserted into legitimate mobile applications and games for the Android platform, was one of the most important threats of the quarter.