In its Q1 malware report, PandaLabs, Panda Security's anti-malware laboratory, identified an average of 73,000 new malware strains per day during the first quarter of 2011, most of which were Trojans. There was a 26 percent increase of new threats compared to the same period last year, the researchers say.
Trojans remain the most popular type of threat to computer systems, and now account for 70 percent of all new malware, according to PandaLabs. "This is unsurprising, considering it can be incredibly lucrative for cybercriminals to commit fraud or steal money from Internet users through the online banking channel," the report says.
"The proliferation of online tools that enable non-technical people to create Trojans in minutes and quickly set up illegal business -- especially when it can provide access to banking details -- is responsible for Trojans' impressive growth," said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.
Not all kind of Trojans grow at the same pace, according to the researchers. Bank Trojans have decreased, bots have remained steady, and fake antivirus apps have decreased.
The number of "downloaders" -- Trojans that infect a machine and then connect through the Internet to download additional malware -- has increased significantly, PandaLabs says. "Hackers often use this method because the downloader is lightweight -- only containing a few lines of code -- and can go completely unnoticed, unlike other Trojans," the report says.
Have a comment on this story? Please click "Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.