McAfee Labs Q2 Report Finds Mobile Threats Rebound

Second Quarter Report Warns of SMS-Stealing Banking Malware, Fraudulent Dating Apps, and Data-Stealing Apps; More Ransomware Samples in 2013 than in All Previous Periods Combined

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Aug. 21, 2013 – McAfee Labs today released the McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2013, which found that Android-based malware achieved a 35 percent growth rate not seen since early 2012. This rebound was marked by the continued proliferation of SMS-stealing banking malware, fraudulent dating and entertainment apps, weaponized legitimate apps and malicious apps posing as useful tools. McAfee Labs registered twice as many new ransomware samples in Q2 as in Q1, raising the 2013 ransomware count higher than the total found in all previous periods combined.   

The second quarter also saw a 16 percent increase in suspicious URLs, a 50 percent increase in digitally-signed malware samples, and notable events in the cyber-attack and espionage areas, including multiple attacks on the global Bitcoin infrastructure and revelations around the Operation Troy network targeting U.S. and South Korean military assets.

McAfee Labs researchers identified a set of common mobile strategies employed by cybercriminals to extract money and confidential information from victims:

“The mobile cybercrime landscape is becoming more defined as cybergangs determine which tactics are most effective and profitable,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president, McAfee Labs. “As in other mature areas of cybercrime, the profit motive of hacking bank accounts has eclipsed the technical challenges of bypassing digital trust. Tactics such as the dating and entertainment app scams benefit from the lack of attention paid to such schemes; while others simply target the mobile paradigm’s most popular currency: personal user information.”

Beyond mobile threats, the second quarter revealed the continued adaptability of attackers in adjusting tactics to opportunities, challenges to infrastructure upon which commerce relies, and a creative combination of disruption, distraction and destruction to veil advanced targeted attacks:

Each quarter, 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. To read the full McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2013, please visit: http://www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-quarterly-threat-q2-2013.pdf

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