Malware, data breach threats highlighted in new McAfee report

February 25, 2013

The McAfee Threats Report for the fourth quarter of 2012 has been released, and it is a document that may be of interest to any organisation concerned about vulnerability management and cyber security.

According to the report, one of the biggest digital security concerns of the last year has been the terrifically rapid growth of mobile malware threats.

In 2011, McAfee was able to gather less than 800 samples of mobile malware, however in 2012 the cyber security firm has announced that it added more than 35,000 samples to its mobile malware "zoo".

"Will 2013 display a similar amazing climb?" asks McAfee in the report, which can be viewed here.

"We’ve watched the growth of mobile malware almost double in each of the last two quarters. Some researchers cite higher figures of new mobile malware, with predictions of up to one million binaries by the end of this year."

Database security was another hot topic of the latest report, with McAfee announcing that there were just 47 publicly reported data breaches in the fourth quarter of 2012.

However the report goes on to note that this figure is misleading, as 2012 saw more than 300 reported data breaches in total – a significant increase on previous years.

McAfee has also profiled the growing threat of ransomware – malware that locks users out of their computers until a financial payment is made to the cyber criminals responsible for the infection.

Ransomware has been a high profile topic in recent weeks, following an announcement from Europol that Spanish authorities had broken up a prolific European cybercrime network which was distributing a ransomware 'Police Virus'.

This report is an important reminder of the fact that cyber security threats come from a variety of different sources, and that cybercriminals are growing increasingly inventive in the techniques they employ.

For that reason, businesses concerned about vulnerability management will want to ensure that they are taking a comprehensive and forward thinking approach towards mitigating the risk of being impacted by a cyber security threat.

The best way to do this is through ethical hacking evaluations, which simulate a legitimate digital attack and allow organisations to detect any potential vulnerabilities or weak points in their systems before they can be exploited by malicious parties.

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