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McAfee says PC malware level is highest in four years

If you have a desktop or laptop, you might want to be aware that the number of malware threats that could invade your PC is the highest it has been in some time. That’s the conclusion of security software company McAfee. In their latest “threat report” for the first quarter of 2012, McAfee (owned by Intel) claims that numbers of malware threats reached its highest level in the past four years.

The press release quotes Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, as saying:

In the first quarter of 2012, we have already detected 8 million new malware samples, showing that malware authors are continuing their unrelenting development of new malware. The same skills and techniques that were sharpened on the PC platform are increasingly being extended to other platforms, such as mobile and Mac; and as more homes and businesses use these platforms the attacks will spread, which is why all users, no matter their platforms, should take security and online safety precautions.

The total amount of malware samples could reach 100 million before the end of 2012, according to McAfee. In addition to a rise in PC malware, the company has also seen a rise of malware made for Mac computers in the first quarter.

The same report claimed that mobile malware was also on the rise, although that was due in part to McAfee’s increased ability to find new mobile threats. Botnet activity increased in the first quarter, with the company claiming that over 5 million PCs have been infected. On the other hand, email spam activity did drop slightly in the first quarter, but that’s a relative number. McAfee says that there was slightly more than 1 trillion spam messages emailed on a monthly basis.

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