McAfee notes enormous rise in spam -

Spam is continuing to prove problematic for computer users, while social networking worms are also wriggling further into threat lists, McAfee has said in its latest report.

The Threats Report: First Quarter 2013, has also warned there is a continued increase in the number and complexity of targeted threats, including information-gathering Trojans and threats targeting systems’ master boot records (MBRs).  

As new technology continues to emerge so do the threats surrounding them. McAfee Labs found almost three times as many samples of Koobface as were seen in the previous quarter, a high point for the social networking worm that targets Facebook, Twitter and other network users.

Spam email volume rose dramatically after a quiet three years.

McAfee said this was thanks to growth in North America, which had been brought back to life through new “pump and dump” spam campaigns. Topics this time around targeted would-be investors hoping to capitalise on all-time equity market highs.

McAfee also noted an increase in the number and sophistication of targeted advanced persistent threats (APTs). The trend had grown by 30 percent with information becoming as valuable as money on the cybercrime landscape. The report found a 30 percent increase in MBR-related malware and new instances of password-stealing Trojans, which were being repurposed to capture information on individuals and organisations beyond the financial services industry.

The company said many of these were used to target login credentials or intellectual property and trade secrets, and as a result there have been highly-targeted attacks with new levels of sophistication.

There was a slight decline in mobile malware. However, Android malware managed to increase by 40 percent. New PC malware samples increased 28 percent, adding 14 million new samples to McAfee’s list of more than 120 million unique malware threats.