Malware reaches all time high


Malware levels have reached new heights as the first six months of 2010 proved to be the most active for malicious file activity on record, McAfee has reported.

There were 10 million new pieces of malware logged in the first six months of this year, while six million were discovered in the second quarter alone.

AutoRun malware and password-stealing Trojans were named as the top two malware-based threats in the world.

"Our latest threat report depicts that malware has been on a steady incline in the first half of 2010," said Mike Gallagher, senior vice president and chief technology officer of global threat intelligence for McAfee.

Threats were most likely to emanate from portable storage devices like USBs, while fake anti-virus software was the second most popular choice among malicious file spreaders.

Social media-specific malware was the third most common basis for attacks.

As for spammers, they unsurprisingly jumped on events such as the World Cup to promote their scams.

In the UK, delivery status notifications, or non-delivery receipt spam, were the messages of choice among spammers the same as in other economic powers such as the US, China, Germany and Brazil.

"It's also obvious that cyber criminals are becoming more in tune with what the general public is passionate about from a technology perspective and using it to lure unsuspecting victims," Gallagher added.

Worryingly, McAfee Labs discovered two botnets thought to be out of action had been resurrected.

These were the Storm Worm and Kraken, which were once believed to be among the most prevalent botnets in the world.

The Zeus Trojan has also been causing some serious trouble of late. Check out our timeline to see what damage it has been doing.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.