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McAfee highlights Flash malware and ransom heists as top threats

10/06/2015 by


In a new analysis from online security provider McAfee, it has been found there have been significant increases in ransomware heists and Adobe Flash malware instances. In the McAfee Labs Threats Report May 2015 it was reported that Flash malware has tripled with almost 200,000 samples ‒ a 317% rise from the 47,000 instances during the same period in 2014; meanwhile, there has been a 165% gain in the number of ransomware attacks.

McAfee Labs senior vice-president, Vincent Weafer, said: “With the popularity of a product like Flash, there comes a tremendous responsibility to proactively identify and mitigate security issues potentially threatening millions of users. This research nicely illustrates how the tech industry works together constructively to gain an advantage in the realm of cybersecurity ‒ industry partners sharing threat intelligence, and technology providers acting on information quickly to help prevent potential issues.”

When investigating the cyber-risks in the UK, McAfee discovered that phishing attacks are one of the most numerous incidences on British shores; in fact, the security expert estimates that approximately six attacks happen every second. With 887 phishing domains, the UK is ahead of any other European country for this problem. Of the specific attacks, Dridex, Dyre and Darkmailer3 botnets are the most common, though the number of threats towards new PCs is actually falling; conversely, it seems that mobile gadgets are in the firing line, with a year-over-year increase of 49% in malware prevalence being noted. This means that both firms and individuals need to take the security of their systems even more seriously, as criminals will do all they can to infect gadgets.

McAfee acts to identify all possible cases of malware and, as a result, has a malware ‘zoo’ in which it keeps a collection of threats. Over the past 12 months the collection has grown by 13%, with 400 million samples now known. One particular new threat seen is the ability for malware to alter solid state drive firmware; it had previously only ever been able to do this on hard drives.

Mr Weafer said: “We at McAfee take hybrid software/hardware threats and exploits seriously. These Equation Group firmware attacks rank as some of the most sophisticated threats of their kind. While such malware has historically been deployed for highly-targeted attacks, enterprises should prepare themselves for the seemingly inevitable ‘off-the-shelf' incarnations of such threats in the future.”

This article has been written by Montash, if you have any queries please contact us on: +44 (0)20 7014 0233 or alternatively send us an email to

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Montash is headquartered in Old Street, London, in the heart of the technology hub. Montash has completed assignments in over 30 countries and has appointed technical professionals from board level to senior and mid management in permanent and contract roles.


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