• PandaLabs has analyzed and classified more malware in 2009 than during the rest of the company’s 20-year history. The company now has a knowledge base of 40 million samples, receiving an average of 55,000 new examples every day
• Banker Trojans and fake antiviruses topped the threat ranking. Traditional viruses -such as Conficker, Sality or Virutas- re-emerged last year
• Social networks (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Digg) and SEO attacks using malware-laden websites were favored by cyber-criminals for spreading malicious code
• Reports of politically-motivated cyber-attacks significantly increased throughout 2009
• These are just some of the conclusions available in the PandaLabs Annual Malware Report at http://pandasecurity.lin3sdev.com/img/enc/Annual_Report_PandaLabs_2009.pdf
 

PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory of Panda Security –The Cloud Security Company- has published its Annual Malware Report, available at: http://pandasecurity.lin3sdev.com/img/enc/Annual_Report_PandaLabs_2009.pdf 
The report reviews the major incidents and events concerning IT security in 2009. The outstanding trend of the last 12 months has been the prolific production of new malware: 25 million new strains were created in just one year, compared to a combined total of 15 million throughout the rest of the company’s 20-year history.

This latest surge of activity included countless new examples of banker Trojans (some 66%) as well as a host of fake antivirus programs (rogueware). The report also draws attention to the resurgence of traditional viruses, previously on the verge of extinction, such as Conficker, Sality or the veteran Virutas.  See the graph at See the graph at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/4244341212/
 

During 2009, spam was also highly active: some 92% of all email traffic was identified as spam. The tricks used to dupe potential victims into opening these emails have focused heavily on exploiting current affairs and dramatic news stories -a tendency which also applied to SEO attacks-. As such, we saw waves of junk mail related to celebrity scandals or deaths (real or fictitious), swine flu, compromising videos of politicians, etc. This year PandaLabs also tracked how spam impacted different industrial sectors, revealing how the automobile and electrical industries were the worst affected, followed by government institutions.
As regards malware distribution channels, social networks (mainly Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Digg), and SEO attacks (directing users to malware-laden websites) have been favored by cyber-criminals, who have been consolidating underground business models to increase revenues.

The Annual Malware Report also examines how individual countries and regions have been affected throughout the year, based on the data gathered from computers scanned and disinfected free of charge with Panda ActiveScan (www.activescan.com). Taiwan tops the rankings, followed by Russia, Poland, Turkey, Colombia, Argentina and Spain. Countries suffering fewest infections include Portugal and Sweden. You can see this graph at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/4243568261/

Last year also saw a rise in the number of news stories related to cyber-attacks with political motives or targets, suggesting that this is no longer the preserve of sci-fi movies and conspiracy theorists and is now becoming a reality.

Finally, and as we announced some days ago, PandaLabs has predicted that the amount of malware in circulation will continue to grow during 2010. Windows 7 will surely attract the interest of hackers when it comes to designing new malware, and attacks on Mac will increase. While we are likely to witness more politically motivated attacks the report concludes that, once again, this will not be the year of the cell phone virus.

These are just some of the conclusions you will find in the PandaLabs Annual Malware Report at: http://pandasecurity.lin3sdev.com/img/enc/Annual_Report_PandaLabs_2009.pdf.