In the first quarter of 2012 alone, six million new malware samples were created, following the trend of increasingly prevalent malware statistics of previous years, according to PandaLabs.
Trojans set a new record as the preferred category of cybercriminals for carrying out information theft, representing 80 percent of all new malware.
In 2011, Trojans ‘only’ accounted for 73 percent of all malware; worms took second place, comprising 9.30 percent of samples; followed by viruses at 6.43 percent. Interestingly in 2012, worms and viruses swapped positions from the 2011 Annual Report, where viruses stood at 14.25 percent and worms at 8 percent of all circulating malware.
When it comes to the number of infections caused by each malware category, the ranking supports the hierarchy of new samples in circulation with Trojans, worms and viruses occupying the top three spots. Interestingly, worms caused only 8 percent of all infections despite accounting for more than 9 percent of all new malware. This is quite noteworthy as worms typically caused many more infections due to their ability to propagate in an automated fashion.
The figures corroborate what is well known: massive worm epidemics have become a thing of the past and have been replaced by an increasing avalanche of silent Trojans, cyber-criminals’ weapon of choice for their attacks.
The average number of infected PCs across the globe stands at 35.51 percent, down more than three percentage points compared to 2011, according to Panda Security’s Collective Intelligence data. China once again led this ranking (54.25 percent of infected PCs), followed by Taiwan and Turkey.
The list of least infected countries is dominated by European countries with nine out of the first ten places being occupied by them, the top three being Sweden, Switzerland and Norway. Japan is the only non-European country among the top ten nations with fewer than 30 percent of computers infected.