Spyware rose 10% in Q1 2009

According to the PandaLabs malware report for the first quarter of 2009, Trojans have accounted for 73% of all new malware created during this period. Nevertheless, one of the main trends identified in the report is the growth of spyware, which rose from 2.5% in the previous quarter to 13.15% in the first three months of the year.

In some cases, cyber-crooks have been successful, as in the case of the Virtumonde spyware, which infected more computers than any other malicious code in the first quarter of 2009. This malware combines aspects of adware and spyware, monitoring users’ Internet movements, rigging search engine results and displaying advertising banners, pop-ups, etc. for some products.

Despite the notable growth of spyware, it is still way behind Trojans (31.51%) and adware (21.13%), in terms of the number of infections caused overall during the first quarter.

The region with the highest percentage of active malware continues to be Taiwan (31.7%). Brazil and Turkey are also noteworthy. They occupy second and third place respectively, overtaking Spain and the United States. Mexico, nevertheless, has witnessed a decrease in the amount of active malware (17.95%), dropping almost 10% compared to the 24.87% active malware average recorded for the whole of 2008.

Although it first appeared at the end of 2008, the Conficker worm has been the malicious code that has kept security companies busiest during the first three months of the year, due to the large number of infections caused between December 2008 and January 2009.

Moreover, there was considerable concern about its supposed reactivation on April 1. However, until now, no new versions or additional infections have been detected other than those already associated to the previously active variants.

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