McAfee Labs Report Says Cyberthreats Increase with Malware and Cybercrime at Record Levels

You know malware is a steadily growing problem, but if you aren’t tuned into the cyber security industry, you might not know just how fast the threat is exploding. Hackers are taking computers hostage, stealing credit card data at ever-increasing rates, and spammers are winning the email war. McAfee released a new report that documents trending malware problems and shines a light on Deep Web, the underbelly of the Internet.

The browser remains a top entry point for cyber attackers. Image credit: McAfee

It’s been a banner year for malware. Rootkits are a major problem, as are the autorun viruses that sit on USB drives, waiting for someone to plug the drive into a new PC. As McAfee points out, one of the most insidious new threats is signed malware that looks like legitimate software. Programs that take your computer hostage and demand ransom are also a problem. Users who pay scammers to have their computers released from the ransomware often find that their money bought them a wrecked operating system. And mobile malware has gone from something cyber security experts were predicting to being the major problem they foresaw: mobile malware rose 33 percent in just the last quarter, according to McAfee.

As you might expect, given its population and technology, the U.S. is both a major supplier of cybercriminals and a prime target. Image credit: McAfee

The Deep Web aspect is worrisome, too. Despite the federal takedown of Silk Road, the most notorious marketplace for criminal activity, other sites are continuing to help criminals hawk everything from malware and credit card numbers to illegal weapons and murder for hire.