Mobile malware on the rise

New malware releases reduced during the final three months of 2011, but were higher than expected for the year

The number of new malware releases slowed during the final three months of 2011, but was higher than expected for the year.

Security supplier McAfee's report on security threats for the final quarter of 2011 found that despite a slowing of new instances of malware in the quarter, the number for 2011 exceeded McAfee’s estimation of 75,000 samples.

Despite the fall in total malware, the final quarter was a busy period for mobile malware writers. Mobile threats increased, with the Android operating system the largest target.

“On a global basis, we are conducting more of our personal and business transactions through mobile devices, and this is creating new security risks and challenges in how we safeguard our commercial and personal data,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice-president of McAfee Labs.

The number of bad websites also grew substantially quarter on quarter, with 9,300 received in the fourth quarter, compared with 6,500 in the previous three months. There are now over 700,000 active malicious URLs.

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