By Billy MacInnes
Whatever happens to the wider economy going forward, the IT security industry is likely to stay busy as the threat from malware continues to grow with ten million new pieces produced in the first six months of 2010.
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According to the McAfee Threats Report for the second quarter, the first half of 2010 was the most active half year ever for malware production with around 55,000 new pieces created every day. The one ray of light was that spam rates have hit a plateau although it still accounts for just under 175bn messages a day.
McAfee found that the most popular malware threats were on portable storage devices followed by fake anti-virus software and malware that was specific to social media.
The World Cup and conflicts in the middle east were used by attackers to poison Internet searches but McAfee was surprised they had not exploited the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as much as expected.
Mike Gallagher, senior vice president and chief technology officer of Global Threat Intelligence at McAfee, said malware was steadily increasing: "It's also obvious that cybercriminals are becoming more in tune with what the general public is passionate about from a technology perspective and using it to lure unsuspecting victims."
He said the report's findings suggested education about cybercrime should be more widespread and security organisations "should move from a reactive to a predictive security strategy".