McAfee has cited the explosion of hacktivism, the evolution of mobile attacks and the continuing growth in unique malware samples as the top security trends of the past three months.
The McAfee Threats Report for the second quarter of 2011 revealed that the security space saw "chaos and change", after groups such as Anonymous and LulzSec drew attention to hacktivism and raised important questions for enterprises and government organisations around the world.
It argued that many companies are more vulnerable than they may have thought and that the security industry may need to "reconsider some of its fundamental assumptions".
Toralv Dirro, McAfee Labs security strategist, told V3 that the company also saw big changes in mobile malware. Recorded malware levels climbed over the quarter, and traditional premium-service dialling attacks were joined by a growing number of more sophisticated attacks.
Dirro suggested that mobile security could a see transition similar to that of the PC market in the early days of the web, when growing pressure from the authorities and increasingly sophisticated development techniques pushed malware operators from premium service diallers to data-harvesting tools.
"More and more people are using their mobile devices pretty much like they would have used their laptop years ago," he said. "So we will see things that happened on the PC side repeated on the mobile side."
McAfee added that increases in unique malware samples were helped by a big rise in malware for Mac OS X systems.
Dirro noted that, while the huge jump was due in large part to the MacGuard and Mac Defender fake anti-virus attacks, other groups are believed to be targeting the Macintosh platform.
"It is something that is continuing. It was like a wildfire when it started, and we are still seeing it, but not in the really big numbers like the beginning," he said.
The coming quarter is likely to see the continuation of current trends as well as a possible jump in spam, according to the report.
Law enforcement agencies have launched successful campaigns against botnet operators, Dirro explained, but malware writers and bot herders will rebuild their networks and bring spam volumes back to previous levels.
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