Malware Scams Hit New Peak in First Half

Socially engineered scams piggybacking off of major news and pop culture events were rampant in the first six months of the year, giving consumers and enterprise IT administrators even more security issues to worry about.

As eSecurity Planet reports, McAfee’s 2Q 2010 Threats Report found more than 10 million new or existing pieces of malware online, an all-time record since the security software vendor began tracking security threats.

“It’s also obvious that cybercriminals are becoming more in tune with what the general public is passionate about from a technology perspective and using it to lure unsuspecting victims,” Mike Gallagher, senior vice president and CTO of McAfee’s Global Threat Intelligence group, said in the report. “These findings indicate that not only should cybercrime education be more widespread, but that security organizations should move from a reactive to a predictive security strategy.”

McAfee reports, however, that spam production actually leveled out in the second quarter, growing only 2.5 percent from the first three months of the year.

Hackers were busy spreading more malware in the first half of this year than any other six-month period on record, according to security software maker McAfee.

The ugly truth was revealed in McAfee’s (NYSE: MFE) Q2 2010 Threats Report (PDF format). In the first half of 2010, more than 10 million new pieces of malware were identified by security researchers and more than 6 million were unearthed in the second quarter alone.

The spike in malware in the second quarter was largely a result of a number of major news and popular cultural events that sophisticated malware purveyors latched onto with vigor. Using social engineering tactics designed to appeal to a mass audience interested in events like the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament and around-the-clock coverage of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf Coast, malicious websites and attachments were the rule rather than the exception in the second quarter.

Read the full story at eSecurity Planet:

Malware Reaches Record Levels: McAfee

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