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PandaLabs Q1 Report: China, Thailand And Taiwan World's Most Infected Countries

New threats surge 16 percent quarter over quarter to more than 73,000 new strains each day

ORLANDO, Fla., April 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- PandaLabs, Panda Security's anti-malware laboratory, today published its Quarterly Report for Q1, analyzing the IT security events and incidents from January through March 2011. Key highlights from the report include an increase in virus activity over the previous quarter, and threats propagated through Android and Facebook as well as the Anonymous hacktivist group, which have served as some of the quarter's most notable security events.

Malware Continues to Grow

So far in 2011, there has been a new surge in the number of IT threats in circulation. In the first three months of the year, there was adaily average of 73,190 new samples of malware, the majority of which were Trojans. Hackers have created 26 percent more new threats in the first months of 2011 than in the corresponding period of the previous year, and 16 percent over Q4.

Once again, Trojans accounted for most of the new threats, comprising 70 percent of all new malware created. These types of threats are favored by organized criminals for stealing bank details so they can perpetrate fraud or steal directly from victims' accounts.

A graph depicting the popularity of major threat types during the quarter is available at http://press.pandasecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/MALWARE-FAMILIES_ENG.jpg.

In the ranking of the top 20 countries with the most infections, which was drawn from data generated byPanda ActiveScan, China, Thailand and Taiwan continue to occupy the first three places with infection rates of nearly 70 percent. The last three places in the ranking are occupied by Ireland, Peru and Ecuador.

A graph depicting infection levels by country is available athttp://press.pandasecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/COUNTRIES.jpg.

As always, PandaLabs advises all users to keep their computers adequately protected. With this in mind, Panda Security offers a number of free tools including Panda Cloud Antivirus and Panda ActiveScan.

Top Security Incidents

PandaLabs highlights several top security incidents during Q1 in the report. The largest single attack against Android cell phones, distribution of malware via Facebook, and an attack by the Anonymous hacktivist group against the HBGary Federal security firm topped the list:

-- Android Malware Heats Up: At the beginning of March, PandaLabs witnessed the largest attack on Android to date. This assault was launched from malicious applications on Android Market, the official app store for the operating system. In just four days these applications, which installed a Trojan, racked up over 50,000 downloads. The Trojan steals personal information from cell phones, and downloads and installs other apps without the user's knowledge. Google managed to rid its store of all malicious apps, and several days later removed them from users' phones. -- Facebook Threats Continue: George S. Bronk, a 23-year-old from California, pleaded guilty to hacking email accounts and blackmail, and now faces up to six years in prison. Using information available on Facebook, he managed to gain access to victims' email accounts. After hijacking an account, he searched for personal information he could then use to blackmail the victim. This quarter, even Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook had his Facebook fan page hacked. -- Anonymous Turns Heads:The Anonymous cyber-activist group responsible for launching an attack in 2010 against the Spanish Copyright Protection Agency, among other targets, continued to make headlines this quarter. The latest incident was triggered when the CEO of U.S. security firm HBGary Federal, Aaron Barr, claimed to have details on the Anonymous ringleaders. The group took umbrage and decided to hack the company's Web page and Twitter account, stealing thousands of emails that were then distributed on The Pirate Bay. The content of some of these emails has been highly embarrassing for the company, bringing to light certain unethical practices, such as a proposal to develop a rootkit, and forcing Aaron Barr to stand down as CEO.

PandaLabs' Q1 report can be downloaded from http://press.pandasecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/PandaLabs-Report-Q1-2011.pdf. Previous reports can be found at http://press.pandasecurity.com/press-room/reports.

About PandaLabs

Since 1990, PandaLabs, Panda Security's malware research laboratory, has been working to detect and classify malware in order to protect consumers and companies against new Internet threats. To do so, PandaLabsuses Collective Intelligence, a cloud-based proprietary system that leverages the knowledge gathered from Panda's user community to automatically detect, analyze and classify the more than 73,000 new malware strains that appear every day. This automated malware classification is complemented through the work of an international team with researchers specialized each in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and other attacks) to provide global coverage. Get more information about PandaLabs and subscribe to its blog news feed at http://www.pandalabs.com. Follow Panda on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Panda_Security and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/PandaSecurity.

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