MALWARE ATTACKS on the Adobe Flash platform rose by a horrifying 317 percent in the first quarter of 2015.
New figures in the McAfee Labs Threats Report May 2015 (PDF) show that the number of recorded Flash malware instances was almost 200,000 in Q1 2015, compared with 47,000 in Q4 2014.
Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, said: "With the popularity of a product like Flash, there comes a tremendous responsibility to proactively identify and mitigate security issues potentially threatening millions of users.
"This research nicely illustrates how the tech industry works together constructively to gain an advantage in the realm of cybersecurity – industry partners sharing threat intelligence, and technology providers acting on information quickly to help prevent potential issues.”
Adobe Flash has long been seen as the agar-filled Petri dish of computing, and its code now creaks under 20 years of exploits and general clunkiness leading to a declined growth in its culture.
Google has already removed Flash from the Play Store, and introduced a new Flash-proofer to the desktop version of the browser last week.
The current beta version, which is likely to go stable next month, means that the browser will detect non-essential Flash elements and offer a stop button for the animations to save system resources.
Security company FireEye confirmed in April that Russian hacking group APT28 was responsible for a number of hacks involving Flash and Windows.
Elsewhere in the McAfee report, there was a 165 percent rise in CTB Locker (ransomware) attacks with 35 percent of victims in Europe.
Spam continues ever onward with six trillion messages sent in Q1. A total of 1,118 spam domains were discovered in the UK alone, beating Russia (1,104) and Japan (1,035).
Phishing domains hit 887 in the UK, compared with France (799) and the Netherlands (680). Overall, McAfee Labs observed 362 phishing attacks a minute, or six every second.
YouTube finally moved over to HTML5 in January as its primary video renderer, kicking Flash to the kerb, while Apple banned older versions of Flash in February after the discovery of yet more zero-day vulnerabilities.
Yet in spite of this, Microsoft has confirmed that the new Edge browser in Windows 10 will include native Flash provision. µ
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