Increased efforts by law enforcement and security research groups have helped to slow the tide of cyber crime, according to McAfee.
The security firm's latest quarterly threat report highlighted a series of police actions and raids, including operations which brought down fraud and money laundering operations as well as high-profile botnet takedowns.
McAfee Labs principal engineer Adam Wosotowsky told V3.co.uk that the latest efforts indicate a slow but encouraging campaign in which cyber criminals are finding it harder to establish their operations.
Wosotowsky explained that greater co-operation between law enforcement groups has helped to close conventional 'safe haven' regions for criminals, and created a system where cyber crime groups are having a tougher time setting up and maintaining their operations.
"There becomes a growth period where they run out from under your boot and it is harder to squash them," he said. "But you are also creating more hoops for them to jump through."
McAfee also noted that mobile malware operations are on the rise. Much of the increase was attributed to Android malware operations which repackage applications with malicious code and then spread them through unofficial application download services.
Overall malware volumes had risen on the quarter, while spam volumes had dropped. Botnet takedowns and security campaigns were credited with helping to increase the cost of maintaining spam operations and keeping volumes down.
Wosotowsky believes that the trend reflects a shift as malware writers look to avoid detection from security tools and law-enforcement agencies.
"It shows me the way things are evolving in terms of what the botnets are used for," he said. "As it becomes easier to detect things like spam and DDoS, it is starting to become more expensive for the botnet owners to run those services."
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