February 8, 2011

McAfee: Smartphone Security Threats Jumped Last Year

Security software maker McAfee reported recently that cellphone security threats jumped sharply last year as a proliferation of Internet-enabled mobile devices like smartphones and tablets provided new opportunities for cybercriminals.

McAfee said the number of pieces of new cellphone malware it found in 2010 jumped 46 percent over 2009's level.

"As more users access the Internet from an ever-expanding pool of devices -- computer, tablet, smartphone or Internet TV -- web-based threats will continue to grow in size and sophistication," it said.

McAfee said in its fourth-quarter threat report that it expected PDF and Flash maker Adobe to remain a favorite of cybercriminals this year, after it overtook Microsoft in popularity as a target in 2010.

It attributed the trend to Adobe's greater popularity in mobile devices and non-Microsoft environments, coupled with the ongoing widespread use of PDF document files to convey malware.

McAfee said Google's Android had been targeted by a trojan horse that buried itself in Android applications and games.

It also said that politically motivated hacking was on the rise, with the highest-profile protagonist being the "Anonymous" activist group that targeted the websites of organizations it perceived to be hostile to controversial site WikiLeaks.

McAfee said spam levels had decreased sharply, especially in the second half of the fourth quarter, with 62 percent less by the end of the year than at the beginning.

However, the company said that spam's hitting its lowest level for years simply represented a transition period with several botnets going dormant during a usually busy time of year.


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