Malware is up but spam is down, McAfee indicates

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Malware threats are up.A new report from McAfee brings both good and bad news for avid computer users. While the volume of malicious software is rising, email spam is on the decline.

According to McAfee, spam hit a two-year low over the past quarter and has continued to decline over the past 12 months, both in the United States and abroad. A few countries did show increased levels of spam, though, including Russia, Greece, Belarus and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, malware has reached a new all-time high. More than 60,000 new threats are identified by the company every day – a number that has quadrupled since 2007. McAfee has discovered more than 14 million pieces of spam through the third quarter of 2010 – more than it did during the entirety of 2009.

"Cybercriminals are doing their homework, and are aware of what's popular, and what's insecure," CNet quotes Mike Gallagher, a senior vice president and chief technology officer at McAfee, as saying. "They are attacking mobile devices and social networking sites, so education about user activity online, as well as incorporating the proper security technologies, are of utmost importance."

Experts agree that the most effective way to defend against cybercriminals is to keep antivirus software up-to-date.

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Naveen Jain