McAfee says PC malware level is highest in four years

If you have a desktop or laptop, you might want to be aware that the number of malware threats that could invade your PC is the highest it has been in some time. That's the conclusion of security software company McAfee. In their latest "threat report" for the first quarter of 2012, McAfee (owned by Intel) claims that numbers of malware threats reached its highest level in the past four years.

The press release quotes Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, as saying:

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. The same skills and techniques that were sharpened on the PC platform are increasingly being extended to other platforms, such as mobile and Mac; and as more homes and businesses use these platforms the attacks will spread, which is why all users, no matter their platforms, should take security and online safety precautions.

The total amount of malware samples could reach 100 million before the end of 2012, according to McAfee. In addition to a rise in PC malware, the company has also seen a rise of malware made for Mac computers in the first quarter.

The same report claimed that mobile malware was also on the rise, although that was due in part to McAfee's increased ability to find new mobile threats. Botnet activity increased in the first quarter, with the company claiming that over 5 million PCs have been infected. On the other hand, email spam activity did drop slightly in the first quarter, but that's a relative number. McAfee says that there was slightly more than 1 trillion spam messages emailed on a monthly basis.

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19 Comments

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Yeah it is high when the damn AV blocks the freaking security updates. What do you think is going to happen? Piece of crap AV is piece of crap.

I am a guinea pig for my customers. I keep my computer fully patched, and took Warwagons best advice a while back and removed java right from the control panel. I click on every single errant, questionable, link, attachement etc. that I can find in an effort to replicate what my customers seem to be able to do on a fairly regular basis. I can't even remember the last time I got nailed by something. But I work on peoples computers every single day that get nailed all the time. I know there is some math in there somewhere, but staying fully patched is probably better advice than any Mcafee, Norton, Kaspersky anything.

timster said,
like AVG, how is McAfee still relevant to anyone?

You`d be surprised how many companies use Enterprise, the NHS (possibly only some areas) for one! It really does begger belief

I'm always skeptical about a company that can profit from its own announcements. They are hardly going to argue that Anti-Virus software is becoming obsolete with modern operating systems unless your in a corporate environment.

Hello,

In my experience, most companies issue press releases in order for them to profit from it in some fashion. That's hardly unique to the anti-malware industry.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

Malware and Spyware are for the dumb... I remember my computer was infected with it ~8 years ago... I was dumb enough to click on free porn! How stupid one has to be I think now.

waqastariq said,
Malware and Spyware are for the dumb... I remember my computer was infected with it ~8 years ago... I was dumb enough to click on free porn! How stupid one has to be I think now.

I click on free porn all the time yet, I am sure my computer is still ok (as far as I can tell anyway) .. common sense goes a long way and no AV will be able to help you with that.

If you are unable to surf the web reliably, either you should not go online, or invest money into a subscription based access to whatever you need to access (including porn).

waqastariq said,
Malware and Spyware are for the dumb... I remember my computer was infected with it ~8 years ago... I was dumb enough to click on free porn! How stupid one has to be I think now.

These days porn sites are the least likely to infect your computer. Mostly because they want you to come back. You are more likely to be infected by a bad ad somewhere.

waqastariq said,
Malware and Spyware are for the dumb... I remember my computer was infected with it ~8 years ago... I was dumb enough to click on free porn! How stupid one has to be I think now.

I used to think this way, too. And to be sure, a lot of infections occur because people did something stupid or were too trusting. But I remember that a few years ago I was browsing a regular website, something on a free web host like Angelfire or Geocities, and had to use Internet Explorer due to site incompatibilities with other browsers. Norton caught a virus that was being delivered through a bad advertisement.

The point is that you can be the smartest internet user out there, but quite a few exploits happen without your knowledge or interaction. People could say that my problem was that I used Internet Explorer, but no browser is 100% immune from exploits. Always be wary.

There is no accurate system for knowing how much malware there is.
The best malware out there is stuff your AV would never pick up, nor would you, it's very stealthy and there's a lot of it.