McAfee Threats Report Shows Global Expansion of Cybercrime

  McAfee Threats Report Shows Global Expansion of Cybercrime

Report Reveals Further Details of “Operation High Roller,” Explores Evolution
 of Ransomware, Shows Malware Topping 100 Million Samples, and Finds Database
                          Breaches at All-Time High

Business Wire

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- November 14, 2012

McAfee today released the McAfee Threats Report: Third Quarter 2012, which
explores techniques in cybercrime as well as the global evolution of cyber
exploits. The latest report uncovers new details of “Operation High Roller,”
tracks that mobile malware almost doubled the previous quarter’s total, and
reveals an all-time high in database breaches. McAfee Labs also saw jumps in
some categories of malware, including ransomware and signed binaries. Rootkits
and Mac malware continue to rise, while password-stealing Trojans and AutoRun
malware also trended strongly upward.

“Cybercrime exhibits few signs of slowing down,” said Vincent Weafer, senior
vice president of McAfee Labs. “Though we tend to highlight the numbers, the
fact is that we continue to see increased sophistication of attacks.
Cybercrime, hacktivism, and cyberwarfare are in a continual state of
evolution. Everyone from governments to large enterprises, small business and
home users are facing a wider range of digital threats from these forces, as
they gain more actionable intelligence on their victims, and leverage the
newest attack platforms and exploits tools to launch their campaigns. We all
need to equip ourselves with basic situation awareness to our online risks and
how best to prevent and combat these threats.”

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. This quarter,
McAfee Labs identified the following trends:

  *Financial Fraud Ring Extends Worldwide Reach: Online financial fraud
    attacks have spread worldwide in Q3. New research indicates that Operation
    High Roller, a financial fraud ring identified earlier this year by McAfee
    Labs and Guardian Analytics, has now spread outside Europe, including to
    the United States and Colombia. Cybercriminals set up an automated
    transfer system (ATS) that was used to attack European financial
    institutions, and set out to target a major U.S. multinational financial
  *Ransomware Continues to Evolve: In Q3, the number of unique samples of
    ransomware, which extorts money from its victims, grew by another 43
    percent, making it one of the fastest-growing areas of cybercrime. Devices
    are infected via links in email and social networks, drive-by downloads,
    and pay-per-install methods. Most malware typically accuses the user of
    visiting illegal websites, locks the computer, and then demands a payment
    to unlock the device. Although victims can pay, they are not guaranteed
    complete system restores.
  *Malware “Zoo” Tops 100 Million: While growth in malware slowed slightly
    this quarter, the overall number in the malware “zoo” still topped 100
    million samples, as predicted. Mobile malware almost doubled the previous
    quarter’s total, while the Android platform remains the largest target.
    McAfee Labs now sees an average of 100,000 new malware samples per day.
    Since January, signed malware has doubled, which has implications for
    global trust infrastructure.
  *Database Breaches at an All-Time High: The total number of data breaches
    in 2012 has already surpassed the figure for the entire 2011 calendar
    year; this year, close to 100 new database-related vulnerabilities have
    been disclosed or silently patched by developers.
  *Stealth Malware Shows Steady Growth: Showing steady growth in Q3, this
    type of stealth malware is known as one of the “nastiest” classifications
    because they are designed to evade detection.
  *Web Threats Increase 20 percent: Among web and messaging threats, we saw a
    20 percent increase this quarter in suspicious URLs, with a vast number of
    these URLs hosting malware. Almost 64 percent of these newly discovered
    suspect URLs are mainly located in North America.

To learn more about the rise in malware in the full copy of the McAfee Threats
Report, Third Quarter 2012, please visit

About McAfee

McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers
businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the
benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security
solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the
world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to
hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network,
McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe.

Note: McAfee is a trademark or registered trademark of McAfee, Inc. in the
United States and other countries. Other names and brands may be claimed as
the property of others.


Ian Bain, 408-346-3877
Zeno Group
Stephanie Chaney, 312-222-1758
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