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McAfee uncovers 200 new cyber attacks per minute in 2013

10 Mar 2014
Malware cyber criminal

Security researchers at McAfee Labs uncovered more than 200 new attacks every minute in 2013 using a variety of dangerous malware types.

McAfee revealed it is detecting and combating more than three new threats every second in its McAfee Labs Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2013. The report indicated that the trend is part of a wider boom in cybercrime, with a total of 200 million malware variants uncovered in Q4 2013. By contrast, 110 million malware variants were detected during the same period in 2012.

The McAfee researchers highlighted an increase in Point of Sale (POS) malware as another key trend. "During the last few years we have seen a notable rise in the malware families POSCardStealer, Dexter, Alina, vSkimmer, Project Hook and others, many of which are available for purchase online," the report said.

The report added that the criminals behind the campaigns are particularly dangerous as they are constantly developing new ways to bypass traditional defences.

McAfee suggested that the move is likely motivated by the success of POS malware operations, such as the recent attack on Target. The Target breach is believed to have occurred between 27 November and 15 December 2013, and saw hackers compromise 40 million credit and debit card accounts.

The researchers reported millions of customer details being sold on a number of cyber black markets. "What happened to the millions of credit card numbers stolen from Target? We have tracked these and continue to see them appear in large lots (dumps) in key ‘carding' marketplaces. Typically the thieves will drop data in batches of one million to four million numbers," read the report.

McAfee also highlighted a marked spike in mobile malware and ransomware levels. The firm reported collecting 2.47 million new Android samples in 2013. The figure marks a 197 percent increase on the number collected in 2012. Ransomware levels also doubled since Q4 2012 to two million in Q4 2013.

McAfee is one of many security firms to report a global boom in cybercrime. Dell SonicWall reported detecting 55,000 new malware variants per day in its Dell Network Security Threat Report 2013 earlier in March.

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Alastair Stevenson

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

View Alastair's Google+ profile

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