More malware targets compromised digital signatures

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More malware targets compromised digital signatures

30 percent rise.

A new type of malware that allows attackers to circumvent digital signature validation of apps has lead to a 30 percent increase in Android malware.

McAfee says Exploit/MasterKey.A made the new trend of signature bypassing easier.

In a recent report the company found 700,000 new pieces of Android malware with more than 1.5 million new samples identified.  PC malware with digital signatures grew by 50 percent.

“The efforts to bypass code validation on mobile devices, and commandeer it altogether on PCs, both represent attempts to circumvent trust mechanisms upon which our digital ecosystems rely,” McAfee Labs senior vice president Vincent Weafer said.

Most recently, researchers with anti-virus software company Bitdefender wrote about a circulating scam program named Antivirus Security Pro that has been tweaked to come with a stolen digital signature. Antivirus Security Pro pretends to be a free malware scanning tool, but when run, it falsely alerts of malware on the machine and requests money in order to clean up the infection.

With untraceable virtual currency growing in use – particularly in underground and often illegal marketplaces, such as Silk Road – Bitcoin-mining has also increased significantly. Attackers are now developing malware that infects systems, mines the computers for processing power and, ultimately, produces Bitcoins for use in purchases.

“As these currencies become further integrated into our global financial system, their safety and stability will require initiatives leveraging both the financial system's monetary controls and oversight, and the technical controls and defenses our industry provides,” Weafer wrote.

As well, the third quarter experienced a 125 percent increase in the global volume of spam. Researchers indicated that the spike is likely a result of legitimate marketing firms purchasing mailing lists from possibly illegal sources.

This article originally appeared at

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