With the adoption of so many new mobile platforms, combined with the lack of security awareness and mobile safeguards, McAfee Labs expects cybercriminals to use botnet infections to target mobile devices. In Q4 2010, Cutwail was dethroned as the global leader in botnet activity, with Rustock the most prevalent in many parts of the world, and Bobax closely trailing behind the two.Malware on the Rise; Spam in a “Transition Period” The onslaught of malware seems to have no end, and the proliferation of both handled and IP-enabled devices’ affect on this growth remains to be seen. The top malware threats in Q4 2010 were very different in various geographies, due in part to the larger trend that threats now tend to match the types of users, habits and events that are specific to a region. Favorites for cybercriminals worldwide this quarter consisted of AutoRun malware (Generic!atr), banking Trojans and downloaders (PWS or Generic.dx), as well as web-based exploits (StartPage and Exploit-MS04-028). Spam hitting its lowest levels in years can be attributed to a “transition period,” with several botnets going dormant during a time of year when spam volumes are usually on an upward path. In Q4, McAfee Labs learned the Bredolab botnet had been closed along with parts of the Zeus botnet. Around the Christmas holiday, spam from the Rustock, Lethic, and Xarvester botnets all disappeared, while the spam leaders this quarter were the Bobax and Grum botnets. More Devices Mean More Web Threats As more users access the Internet from an ever-expanding pool of devices—computer, tablet, smartphone or Internet TV—web-based threats will continue to grow in size and sophistication. In Q4, some of the most active threats included Zeus-Murofet, Conficker and Koobface, and the number of potentially malicious domains grew at a rapid pace. Phishing URLs in the form of the IRS, gift cards, rewards accounts, and social networking accounts were also among the most popular. McAfee Labs found that within the top 100 results of the top daily search terms, 51 percent led to malicious sites, and on average each of these poisoned results pages contained more than five malicious links. McAfee Labs expects attacks using the techniques of search-engine abuse and trend abuse to focus more specifically on new types of devices in 2011.
Adobe Product Vulnerabilities are Top Distribution Method of Choice for CybercriminalsIn 2009, McAfee Labs predicted that vulnerabilities in Adobe product would become the clear choice of malware authors and cybercriminals for distribution malware and compromising systems and networks. This prediction has come true. Throughout 2010 malware developers have heavily exploited weaknesses in both Flash and especially PDF technologies. McAfee Labs databases reveal that malicious PDFs targeting Adobe Acrobat topped the number of unique samples by a wide margin, making them the favorite target of client-side exploitation. McAfee Labs is certain that the “Adobe” trend will continue this year, as more mobile devices and non-Microsoft operating systems support various Adobe technologies. Hacktivism Gains Traction The main hacktivist actor in Q4 2010 was the “Anonymous” activist group. Its members engaged in various cyberdemonstrations against copyright protection groups early in the quarter and against WikiLeaks censors and detractors later in the quarter. The boundary between hacktivism and cyberwarfare continues to blur. For a full copy of the McAfee Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2010, please visit: http://www.mcafee.com. About McAfee, Inc. McAfee, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, is the world's largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, and browse and shop the Web more securely. Backed by its unrivaled Global Threat Intelligence, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector, and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security. McAfee secures your digital world. http://www.mcafee.com NOTE: McAfee is a registered trademark or trademark of McAfee, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. Other marks may be claimed as the property of others. The product plans, specifications, and descriptions herein are provided only for information and are subject to change without notice, and are provided without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied.