New McAfee study reveal scale of botnet infections

Security specialist McAfee has revealed the true extent of malicious online infections.

Robot attacking computer

Cyber criminals have taken charge of as many as 12 million new IP addresses since the start of 2009 - a worrying 50 per cent increase compared with the same period last year.

So claims McAfee in its latest quarterly threat report, which suggests that cyber criminals are gathering resources as they build an army of infective machines, primed and ready to do their malicious bidding.

"The massive expansion of these botnets provides cyber criminals with the infrastructure they need to flood the Web with malware," said Jeff Green, senior vice president of McAfee Avert Labs, "Essentially, this is cyber crime enablement."

Particular points of note during the period include the resurgence of the Koobface virus, which made an appearance in over 800 new guises, and an increase in URL redirects and spoofed web 2.0 sites designed to hide the true purpose of malicious sites.

While the number of infected, so-called 'zombie machines', grew during the period, rising by almost 50 per cent, or 12 million new IP addresses, during the quarter, the amount of spam fell, thanks in part due to last year's McColo shutdown.

However, McAfee said that it expected to rise again, dramatically and sooner rather than later. "Spam levels are still 30 per cent below their peak levels, and we did not see the increase that historically occurs in March," the report warns.

"The question is not whether spam will return to previous levels, but rather when it will return. There is data regarding new zombie and botnet creation that suggest the time may not be too far in the future

This does not mean to say that spam has disappeared. While last year McAfee saw an average of 153 billion messages per day, this March levels averaged out at about 100 billion messages per day.

Featured Resources

Defeating ransomware with unified security from WatchGuard

How SMBs can defend against the onslaught of ransomware attacks

Free download

The IT expert’s guide to AI and content management

How artificial intelligence and machine learning could be critical to your business

Free download

The path to CX excellence

Four stages to thrive in the experience economy

Free download

Becoming an experience-based business

Your blueprint for a strong digital foundation

Free download

Recommended

McAfee Total Protection review: Quick, effective and affordable
antivirus

McAfee Total Protection review: Quick, effective and affordable

23 Aug 2021
McAfee’s zero trust solution strengthens private applications’ security
cyber security

McAfee’s zero trust solution strengthens private applications’ security

3 Aug 2021
PowerShell threats increased over 200% last year
cyber security

PowerShell threats increased over 200% last year

14 Apr 2021
McAfee to sell enterprise business to STG for £2.8 billion
mergers and acquisitions

McAfee to sell enterprise business to STG for £2.8 billion

9 Mar 2021

Most Popular

Zoom: From pandemic upstart to hybrid work giant
video conferencing

Zoom: From pandemic upstart to hybrid work giant

14 Sep 2021
What are the pros and cons of AI?
machine learning

What are the pros and cons of AI?

8 Sep 2021
Google takes down map showing homes of 111,000 Guntrader customers
data breaches

Google takes down map showing homes of 111,000 Guntrader customers

2 Sep 2021