McAfee Labs discovered one new cyber-threat every three seconds in the fourth quarter of 2016, although the number of new malware samples including ransomware slowed during the period.
The security firm’s research team found an astonishing 176 new threats per minute in the period, it claimed in its McAfee Labs Threats Report: April 2017.
The number of new malware samples discovered grew by nearly a quarter (24%) in 2016 to reach a whopping 638 million, although growth slowed 17% in Q4, it revealed.
The total number of ransomware samples grew by 88% in 2016 as a whole, but dropped 71% in Q4 as the once-prolific Locky and CryptoWall families declined.
The security vendor, recently spun out of parent company Intel and renamed from Intel Security, suggested that threat intelligence sharing is key to defeating the bad guys, and that siloed systems too often create gaps for hackers to exploit.
“The security industry faces critical challenges in our efforts to share threat intelligence between entities, among vendor solutions, and even within vendor portfolios,” said Vincent Weafer, vice president of McAfee Labs.
“Working together is power. Addressing these challenges will determine the effectiveness of cybersecurity teams to automate detection and orchestrate responses, and ultimately tip the cybersecurity balance in favor of defenders.”
The report highlighted the increasing threat posed by IoT malware Mirai. McAfee claimed the October public release of the Mirai source code had propelled related botnet activity, with an estimated 2.5 million devices infected by the malware by the end of Q4.
McAfee said around five device IP addresses were added to Mirai botnets every minute by the end of the year.
A new variant of the botnet-conscripting malware was discovered last week after a 54-hour DDoS attack on a US university which generated over 2.8 billion requests.