Anti-Malware Lab Report Says Four out of Five Malware Samples are Trojans

Six million new malware samples were created in the first quarter of 2012 alone, according to an anti-malware laboratory's quarterly report.

PandaLabs, Panda Security's anti-malware laboratory, today published its quarterly report analyzing IT security events and incidents from January through March 2012. The full report is available at http://press.pandasecurity.com/press-room/reports/.

Malware Statistics

According to the report, trojans now represent 80 percent of all new malware, up from 73 percent in 2011. Worms comprise 9.30 percent of malware, followed by viruses at 6.43 percent. In the 2011 report, however, there were more viruses (14.25 percent) than worms (8 percent). 

When it comes to the number of infections caused by each malware category, the ranking supports the view that trojans, worms and viruses are the three most popular types of malware. Interestingly, worms caused only 8 percent of all infections despite accounting for more than 9 percent of all new malware. In the past, however, worms typically caused many more infections due to their ability to multiply.

The report findings support the view that massive worm epidemics have become a thing of the past and have been replaced by an increasing avalanche of silent trojans, cyber-criminals' weapon of choice for their attacks.

China Tops List of Infections per Country

The average number of infected PCs across the globe stands at 35.51 percent, down more than 3 percent from 2011, according to Panda Security's collective intelligence data.

China again this year led had the highest number of infections in the world (54.24 percent of infected PCs), followed by Taiwan and Turkey. In comparison, European countries tend to have the least amount of infected computers. Nine out of ten of countries with least amount of infected computers are European. The top three least infected are Sweden, Switzerland, and Norway. Japan is the only non-European country among the top ten nations with fewer than 30 percent of computers infected. 

What’s in the Report

In the report, PandaLabs highlights several top security incidents that occurred during Q1. There was a marked increase in 'ransomware' attacks over the past quarter due in large part to the so-called 'Police Virus.' The virus displays messages with logos of international law enforcement agencies to trick users into believing that their computers have been locked by the police for visiting inappropriate websites or making illegal downloads. To unlock it, users have to pay a fine, usually in the range of one hundred euros, dollars or British pounds (depending on the target of the attack). These messages are coming from the Trojans themselves. 

The report also covers the latest attacks on Android cell phones, distribution of malware via Facebook, the Megaupload case, cyber-war and the latest activities of the Anonymous and LulzSec hacktivist groups. "Although it's still early in the year, so far what we have seen in 2012 is a continuation of past trends,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “Cyber-criminals are still trying to steal users' information and money by any means possible."

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