Malware – The Cyber Criminals Best Friend

An article in Business Line last week suggested that the prospect of a double-dip recession in the US could have major impacts on cyber security professionals and the internet security community. With the stock markets experiencing a turbulent time as fears grow that economic growth is stalling, Business Line suggests that there could be a significant loss of jobs in the IT sector.

The article suggested that, in the event of another recession, software engineers could turn to cybercrime, assisting in the proliferation of malware. Whilst I’m not convinced of the notion that just because you have been made unemployed that you would turn to criminality, there are some concerning statistics relating to the increase of malware attacks.

The US’s Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3), which informs law enforcement agencies of cyber crime complaints registered a 101% increase in complaints from 2008 to 2009 (172,940 up to 146,663). However, it should be noted that this figure actually dropped by 17% in 2010 to 121,710.

Although 2010 showed a decrease in the volume of attacks reported to IC3, these are sill huge figures. However, to think that the issue is under control and on the decline would be a mistake. The numbers reported by IC3 are dwarfed by a recent report by McAfee which reported a 76% increase of malware attacks to Android users in the second quarter of 2011. McAfee reported that it had identified over 12 million pieces of malware and expected the final year figure to be somewhere near 75 million. Commenting on the issue McAfee’s senior vice president Vincent Weafer said:

“This year we have seen record breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the uptick is in direct correlation to popularity”.

One thing is certain; whether we re-enter a global recession or not, individuals and businesses are becoming more reliant upon IT technology, therefore increasing the amount of data held in cyber space. This inevitably creates more opportunities for cyber criminals. Cyber security is an issue that everyone should address. IT Governance USA have published a free White Paper on Cyber Security. Download it here >>>