Localised Malware Takes Root

New McAfee research shows regionalised malware rising; more attacks tailored to different cultures and technologies.

hidden February 21, 2008 15:09:26 IST
Localised Malware Takes Root

Cybercriminals are increasingly crafting attacks in multiple languages and are exploiting popular local applications to maximise their profits, according to a new McAfee report.

"This isn't malware for the masses anymore," said Jeff Green, senior vice president, McAfee Avert Labs. "Cybercrooks have become extremely deft at learning the nuances of the local regions and creating malware specific to each country. They're not skilled just at computer programming—they're skilled at psychology and linguistics, too."

McAfee Avert Labs examined global malware trends in its third Sage report, titled "One Internet, Many Worlds." The report is based on data compiled by McAfee's international security experts and examines the globalisation of threats and the unique threats in different countries and regions. In the report, McAfee details the following trends and conclusions:

  • Sophisticated malware authors have increased country-, language-, company-, and software-specific attacks
  • Cyberattackers are increasingly attuned to cultural differences and tailor social engineering attacks accordingly
  • Cybercrime rings recruit malware writers in countries with high unemployment and high levels of education such as Russia and China
  • Cybercriminals take advantage of countries where law enforcement is lax
  • Around the world, malware authors are exploiting the viral nature of Web 2.0 and peer-to-peer networks
  • More exploits than ever before are targeted at locally popular software and applications

    "Malware has become more regional in nature during the past couple of years," said Green. "This trend is further evidence that today's cyberattacks are targeted and driven by a financial motive, instead of the glory and notoriety of yesteryear's cybergraffiti and fast-spreading worms. We're in a constant chess match with malware authors, and we're prepared to counter them in any language they're learning to speak."

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