‫ McAfee Threats Report: First Quarter 2012-1st Section


Date: 2012-07-21


The McAfee Labs has studied the security threats of the first quarter of 2012 in a report. The following report is briefing that report.

Mobile Threats

This quarter we report a large increase in mobile malware. The jump was targeted almost solely at the Android platform. Due to significant improvements in our ability to collect, process, and detect mobile malware, the count further accelerated this quarter.

This quarter we saw significant amounts of new adware and mobile backdoor malware, along with some very simple premium-rate SMS-sending malware. Mobile adware displays ads on a victim’s phone without permission. Adware doesn’t necessarily reduce users’ security, but it does subject them to unwanted ads.


Malware Threats

Going into 2012 we had collected more than 75 million samples in our combined “malware zoo,” but with the tremendous growth this quarter we have already topped 83 million pieces of malware. We don’t know when we will top the 100 million mark, but it will certainly happen in the next few quarters. With increases in rootkits and their functionality, signed malware, and rampant growth across most other threat vectors, 2012 might prove to be a bumpy year on the security superhighway.



Growth in rootkits bounced back this quarter, with more activity from Koutodoor, though it’s nowhere near the malware’s height of 12 months ago. The rootkit ZeroAccess is already popular with cybercriminals and other malicious actors. Rootkits, or stealth malware, are one of the nastiest classifications of malware. They have a heavy influence on almost all other areas of malware and are designed to evade detection and “live” on a system for prolonged periods.


Let’s turn to our other “favorites”: Fake AV (bogus security software), AutoRun, and password-stealing Trojans are still with us. The first two have continued to drop slightly while password stealers showed a strong surge this quarter.




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