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
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
"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 institution.
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
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
To learn more about the rise in malware in the full copy of the McAfee
Threats Report, Third Quarter 2012, please visit http://www.mcafee.com/us/resources/reports/rp-quarterly-threat-q3-2012.pdf.
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and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and
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Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping
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Ian Bain, 408-346-3877
Stephanie Chaney, 312-222-1758