‫ McAfee Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2012-2st Section

Date: 2013-03-11
The McAfee Labs has studied the security threats of the fourth quarter of 2012 in a report. The following report is briefing that report.
Messaging Threats

The number of spam messages increased in October and then fell to the lowest point in several years.

Botnet breakdowns

Infections from messaging botnets were flat for the quarter. Volume has shown an overall decline since May. Waledac, which began in March and peaked in October, is basically dead. Will it rise again? It can happen. Festi and Lethic increased slightly during the quarter, while Cutwail, which three times this year infected more than two million computers in a month, dropped to 500,000 new infections in December. A new botnet, Kelihos, is now on the scene, though its numbers are still small in comparison with the other leaders.

Web Threats
Websites can gain bad or malicious reputations for a variety of reasons. Reputations can be based on full domains and any number of subdomains, as well as on a single IP address or even a specific URL. Malicious reputations are influenced by the hosting of malware, potentially unwanted programs, or phishing sites. Often we observe combinations of questionable code and functionality. These are just few of the factors that contribute to our rating of a site’s reputation.

In our databases, these URLs and domains are classified according to their risk ratings. This quarter the percentage of high-risk URLs increased to 85 percent, from 81 percent in the third quarter. The percentage of high-risk domains increased to 47 percent, up from 42 percent in the prior quarter.

This quarter the number of new suspect URLs averaged 4.6 million per month, up from 2.7 million per month in the last two quarters.


Many of these suspicious URLs (90.9 percent) host malware, exploits, or codes that have been designed specifically to compromise computers. Phishing and spam represent 3.5 percent and 1.1 percent, respectively.

Related link:
McAfee Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2012, By McAfee Labs


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