Malware growth sets new records

The latest figures from AppRiver indicate that malware is growing at a rate not seen for six years

The start of this year saw malware records being broken, with the highest levels since 2008 being monitored, with one in ten emails being defined as malicious.

In the first quarter, of 14bn emails, almost 10.9bn were spam while a further 490m messages contained malware, according to security specialist AppRiver, which released the findings in its Q1 Global Security Report.

AppRiver security analyst, Fred Touchette said that there was a need for more vigilance and users could do a lot to make sure that they didn't fall victim to some of the tricks by keeping an eye on their emails.

“Keep yourself informed and watch out for some of the common flaws that malware campaigns employ, such as addressing people by their email as opposed to their actual names," he said.

“Oftentimes generalities are used in the greeting with no names at all. That’s a big red flag, especially when the content appears so personal. If there are any questions as to the legitimacy of any email, contact the supposed sender directly to authenticate," he added.

The report also detailed IT professionals concerns around security, revealing that their biggest worries were about external cyber crime rather than information spying by the NSA and GCHQ.

The report also charted the advent of ransomware such as CryptoLocker, which freezes computers so users can’t access their files and demands a payment to unlock the computer.

AppRiver claims to have predicted that following the initial appearance of CryptoLocker late last year, copycat variants would appear. The report detailed how new versions have begun surfacing including CryptoClone and CryptoLocker 2.0, which unlike the original version are self-replicating worms.

The report also contains information on HeartBleed OpenSSL vulnerability and Window’s XP End of Life.  It also details major attacks and cyber scams so far this year that have used HMRC, the IRS and National Institute for Health and Excellence as covers for malicious activity.

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