The latest trend in computer hacking is the use of ‘trusted malware’ to gain access to secure data, according to a report from AVG.
The trend, described by AVG as ‘stealing the keys rather than breaking the window,’ involves hackers acquiring internet users’ digital signatures, then attaching these signatures to their own malware programs and sending these on under the guise of security.
AVG says it has detected 53,834 pieces of signed malware in the first five months of 2011, compared with 39,102 during the whole of 2010.
"The practice of trusting signed files is rapidly losing its strength,” the report says.
The report also found a rise in the likelihood that Mac users will be the victims of cybercrime, such as when the MacDefender virus struck in May.
The full report is available here.