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Spam and malware still growing, McAfee reports

13 August 2010 - 10:59 by Simon Crisp

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The volume of spam email and malicious software that is targeting consumers in the UK and around the world is still increasing, according to a new report published by security vendor McAfee.

In the first six months of the year more than 10 million new malicious programs were recorded by McAfee and over the last three months spam email has increased by 2.5 per cent.

Malicious software targeting users looking for cheap or free antivirus solutions was the second most prevalent form of malware in the previous quarter, just behind software that attempts to steal data from portable devices.

Although spam linking to fishing sites that attempt to con UK consumers looking for the means to carry out safe shopping online is still a significant problem, cybercriminals targeting western nations tended to favour spam which implied the user had either failed to send or receive a critical email in order to dupe them into downloading malware.

Unsurprisingly the most popular topic leveraged by spam campaigners over the past three months was the 2010 World Cup and several widely reported scams relating to this popular event were discovered.

McAfee's Mike Gallagher said that the firm had recorded a steady increase of both spam and malware in 2010, with the current trends suggesting that this is set to continue.

Mr Gallagher also pinpointed the fact that cybercriminals are increasingly intent on luring in users with the promise of the latest technological gadget before denying them their right to safe shopping online.

McAfee believes that consumers should receive a greater amount of instruction and education in the intricacies of spam and malware to ensure that they are better protected in the future. It also suggests that the security industry needs to respond to new threats much more quickly.