McAfee screams: Beware the Android!

Another day, another security threat report. The latest from McAfee backs up murmurs from elsewhere in the industry, suggesting that as mobile becomes the more common way to compute, with it comes increased risk and malware.

It’s the busiest first half year ever for malware, says McAfee in its Q2 2011 report, with a strong increase in rootkits. McAfee believes its known malware list will make 75 million samples before the year is through.

In particular, mobile users on Android should be cautious. The malware aimed squarely at Google’s green robot increased 76 percent from the previous quarter alone, making it, McAfee says, the most attacked mobile operating system. 

The phone is a treasure trove for valuable personal information – not just yours, but your contacts, too. Malware which mostly matches PC equivalents has made its way into Android, which has passed Symbian as the most popular mobile malware target. McAfee claims the quick rise in Android malware for the quarter means it’s a prime target for cybercriminals, who are putting out stuff like fake Angry Birds updates and novelty apps which actually comb through your phone.

Meanwhile, as Macs increase in popularity for business use, Apple is finding itself a target for rogue and malicious software. The news will upset users who claim that Apple machines are more secure than a very prude nun’s titanium chastity belt – the share simply wasn’t significant enough until recently for hackers to bother writing the code.

It should spur companies who have switched their entire workforce onto the Mac, like ITV in the UK, into some sort of preventative action, but let’s get real, it probably won’t.

McAfee says Rustock’s death means spam is still at a pleasingly low level, but it imagines there will be a sharp rise in the months to come.  It claims a million spam emails costs as little as $25 in the US, while 1.5 million in the UK costs $100.

Like every other security company in the world, it tipped its hat to LulzSec and Anonymous as the headline grabbers for the quarter. McAfee researchers will secretly be pleased that their actions could be scaring the confused public into buying expensive software which won’t protect them from data leaks anyway.