Security threats grow exponentially

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Security threats grow exponentially

McAfee has reported that security threats have grown at record speed over the last two years.

McAfee has reported that security threats have grown at record speed over the last two years.

While it took 18 years for the security vendor to log its first 100,000 known viruses, it has taken less than two years for the company to log its 200,000th threat.

According to the company the number of threats continued to grow exponentially.
In 2004, it added 27,340 new threats to its database, while in 2005, it added 56,880. Currently the new threats are tipped to exceed 60,000 by the end of this year.

Given current trends, McAfee expects its 400,000th threat to be identified in less than two years.

Seeking to explain this trend, Stuart McClure, senior vice president, global research and threats at McAfee, said while security awareness continued to improve, hackers and malicious code authors were still releasing about
200 percent more malicious threats per day than two years ago.

In a post on the company’s security blog, Jimmy Kuo said the last two years had seen a tremendous increase in downloaders and bots whose intention was to commandeer victims’ machines in a bit to extract money from them.

“In early 2004, a number of viruses like Netsky, Bagle, and Mydoom would infect multiple millions of machines with each release of a new variant. Many millions of machines would be compromised in a short amount of time causing great financial strife and immediate reaction from IT personnel as well as law enforcement,” he said.

Despite the arrest of Sven Jaschan for the creation of the Netsky and Sasser families of viruses and a 21-year-old German man alleged to be the author of Gaobot/Agobot, the tide of malware, Kuo said. Rather, malware distribution had evolved.

“The preferred method of malware distribution now involves the creation of many minor variants sent through controlled spam efforts. Good family detection becomes crucial for a less worrisome experience on the internet,” he said.

“Another area of concern is the growth of malware targeting mobile telephony. The numbers are still small, only near 300. As a result, rates of growth are exaggerated. However, [the number of threats] will grow.”
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