Internet Security: Malware Is Increasing and I’m Not Surprised

Web Internet World MapMalware across the Internet is increasing according to a recent study by McAfee Labs. The increases are in the number of botnets and they affect all platforms. “In the first quarter of 2012, we have already detected 8 million new malware samples, showing that malware authors are continuing their unrelenting development of new malware,” said McAfee Labs. The study also says that, because new malware growth in the Android smartphone and Apple Mac computer areas, that “total malware could reach the 100 million mark within the year.”

The reasons I’m not surprised are:

1. Malware botnets, the infrastructure of cyber-crimes, are very efficient and productive. And, although a few highly visible takedowns and arrests have taken place recently, operate pretty much unhindered. The size of the botnet networks, the number of infected computers they control, are enormous: some in the tens of millions. And the botnets, and the malware they transport, are being programmed to operate with more stealth in order to evade detection.

2. There is an active and prosperous malware software market, see Internet Security: The Crimeware Explosion. A cybercriminal or organization can participate in the malware crime “industry” with very little startup resources, including little or no programming staff. Because, as I’ve reported in Cybercrime “Products” For Sale, the botnets and malware can be purchased from criminal websites quite inexpensively. For example, a botnet that steals from your bank account “will cost a cybercriminal US$2,399 plus $125 for “rent” of a botnet builder and administration panel, with an extra $395 for automatic updates for antivirus evasion.”

3. The average computer user does not use appropriate security practices. Unfortunately, we are still not taking the cybercrime threat seriously and that provides an almost effortless target field of computers to be invaded and controlled by these cybercriminal botnets. The reasons we are so vulnerable to this threat are that some of us are like the ostrich who buries his head in the sand to avoid unpleasant situations, thinking it will happen to someone else, not us; and some of us are ignorant and oblivious of the threat altogether. We’re our own worse enemy in this situation.

Just as the root cause of the illegal drug epidemic can be laid at the feet of the people who use the drugs; in other words, if the consumers reject a product, the industry will die and if not the industry will flourish. The same can be said of the computer “users” who for what ever reason allow their computers to be invaded and controlled. We’re talking about 100 million instances of malware; come on folks, we need to get serious about being part the solution and not part of this problem. We have met the enemy and he is us!

Reference: Significant malware increase across all platforms, Help Net

As always, I appreciate your comments on this subject…so please do. And be careful out there…it’s extremely dangerous these days.

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Home computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.

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