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PandaLabs Releases 2009 Annual Malware Report

The outstanding trend of the last 12 months has been the prolific production of new malware

GLENDALE, CALIF., Jan. 5, 2010 -- PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory of Panda Security, has published its Annual Malware Report, which 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 Panda Security's 20-year history. The report is available for free download at: http://www.pandasecurity.com/img/enc/Annual_Report_PandaLabs_2009.pdf.

This latest surge of activity included countless new examples of banker Trojans, which represented approximately 66 percent of all new samples, as well as a host of fake antivirus programs, also known as rogueware. The report also draws attention to the resurgence of traditional viruses previously on the verge of extinction, such as Conficker, Sality and the veteran Virutas. A breakdown of all new viruses detected by PandaLabs in 2009 can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/4244341212/.

During 2009, spam was also highly active: approximately 92 percent of all e-mail traffic was identified as spam. The tricks used to dupe potential victims into opening these e-mails have focused heavily on exploiting current affairs and dramatic news stories - a tactic which also applied to search engine optimization (SEO) attacks. As such, PandaLabs 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 that the automotive and consumer electronics industries were the worst affected, followed by government agencies.

In terms of malware distribution channels, social networks, mainly including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Digg, as well as SEO attacks that directed users to malware-laden Web sites, were favored by cybercriminals last year. Cybercriminals continued to consolidate underground business models that exploited social engineering techniques to generate 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. A graphic representation of malware infection rates by country can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/panda_security/4243568261/.

Last year also saw a rise in the number of cyber attacks with political motives or targets, suggesting that what people have been watching in espionage and sci-fi movies for years is now becoming a reality.

In conclusion, PandaLabs predicts that the amount of malware in circulation will continue to grow during 2010. Windows 7 will attract the interest of hackers when it comes to designing new malware, and attacks on Apple computers will increase. While the industry will also witness more politically motivated attacks, PandaLabs believes that 2010 will not be the year of the cell phone virus.

About PandaLabs

Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda Security's new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions.

Currently, 99.4 percent of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented through the work of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), who work 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more resource-friendly solutions for clients.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com

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