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McAfee – Password Stealing Malware Multiplied to 400% in 2008

As per the latest report by security company 'McAfee,' the use of password-stealing trojans expanded almost 400% in 2008.

Publishing the report known as "Inside the Password-Stealing Business: the Who and How of Identity Theft", the security firm said - in 2008, almost 400,000 variants of trojans designed to log keystrokes and record passwords were discovered. On the other hand, less than 100,000 such samples had been discovered in 2007.

It is not just the number of malware has gone up but also the methods of data-stealing have become more advanced, said McAfee. The firm informed that skimming attacks, which compromised ATM operating systems and software, were a perfect example of latest methods that could gain fame among cyber criminals operating underground.

Furthermore, several malware programs were trying to disable security software and steal data directly from system files. The transmission of stolen data has become more protected and the destinations tougher to trace.

These methods of data stealing are being used extensively by cyber criminals who take pictures of a PC screen as a user enters a password or ID and can even capture entries from obscured logins, said the report.

McAfee attributed this rise to escalating use of e-comm and online gaming across the world.

The company declared in its report that while infections by password-stealers attacking games had been seen less frequently before, 2006 and 2007 witnessed a rise in this subcategory.

It is also noted that during that time, underground economies leaped up around the trade of virtual game goods such as skill points, helmets and swords.

However, gamers are not just the only victims of the rising wave of password-stealing malware. With the help of more classy methods and use of alleged 'money mules', robbery of bank account information has also increased.

Besides this, secure sites are targeted by forged pop-ups that ask for private details.

The firm discovered that the situation became more complex as monetary institutions were adding extra layers of safety and in some cases creating perplexity among users. The report said - putting into practice more safety does not essentially bring better usability.

Related article: McAfee Alerts Windows about Accessibility Hole in Vista

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