Malware Attacks Climb, Spam Levels Fall, says McAfee

By John Wagley

The first quarter of 2011 was the most active quarter yet for malware, according to a new report from McAfee. Meanwhile, spam levels have been declining significantly.

Six million unique malware samples were identified in the first quarter, according to the most recent McAfee Threats Report. Fake anti-virus software also “had a very active quarter,” according to McAfee. More than 350,000 unique samples were identified in March 2011, the “highest levels in more than a year.”

The report also noted an increase in mobile malware, with the most attacks identified on the Symbian OS, followed by Google’s Android platform.

Spam levels, meanwhile, have been at their lowest levels since 2007 during the past few quarters, according to McAfee. Levels fell significantly again in the first quarter, however, to about 1.5 billion messages per day, or about half the level of a year ago.

The decline is due partly to the takedown earlier this year of the Rustock botnet, according to the report. The takedown “resulted in a shutoff of major [spam] zombies and command structures,” it states.



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