In the second quarter of 2012 alone, more than six million new malware samples were created, a similar figure to the first quarter, according to PandaLabs, Panda Security‘s anti-malware laboratory, in its Q2 quarterly report.
The Quarter at-a-Glance
In the report, PandaLabs highlights several top security incidents that occurred during Q2, including the proliferation and evolution of the ‘Police Virus’ from scareware to ransomware, and Flame, a cyber-espionage virus that has become one of the highlights of the year.
The report also covers the latest cases of cyber-crime, such as a hacker attack on Wikipedia users, the exploitation of a major security hole in Iran’s banking system, and the new ways found by law enforcement agencies to fight data theft.
It includes information about the latest attacks on mobile phones and social networking sites, the cyber-espionage operations between nations such as the United States and Yemen, and the traditional cyber-conflict between North and South Korea.
In addition to security trends, PandaLabs provides analysis of all malware samples it received throughout the quarter and details its findings in the Q2 report.
Approximately One Third of Computers Worldwide are Infected
The average number of infected PCs across the globe stands at 31.63 percent, falling almost four percentage points compared to Q1, according to Panda Security’s Collective Intelligence data. Countries in Asia take the top three spots of most infections per country, with South Korea leading (57.30 percent of infected PCs) for the first time ever, up by almost three percentage points compared to Q1. China takes the second spot (51.94 percent), followed by Taiwan and Bolivia.
Nine of the ten least infected countries are in Europe with the only exception being Uruguay. The country with the fewest infections is Switzerland(18.40 of infected PCs), followed by Sweden (19.07 percent), comprising the only nations with fewer than 20 percent of computers infected. Norway, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Germany, Ireland, Finland, Hungary and Holland are the other eight countries with the fewest malware infections.
“The list of least infected countries is dominated by some of the world’s most technologically advanced nations, with the sole exception of South Korea,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “Even though there may be other factors that influence these results, there seems to be a clear connection between technological development and malware infection rates.”
Trojans continued to account for most of the new threats created this quarter (78.92 percent); worms took second place, comprising 10.78 percent of samples; followed by viruses at 7.44 percent. The last place was occupied by adware/spyware at 2.69 percent.
Interestingly, viruses continued their decline, moving from second place in the 2011 Annual Report (14.24 percent) to third place (7.44 percent) this quarter. Worms maintained their second position, rising from 9.30 percent last quarter to almost 11 percent this quarter.
When it comes to the number of infections caused by each malware category, Trojans once again topped the ranking, accounting for more infections than in the first quarter (76.18 percent compared to 66.30 percent).
Viruses came second (7.82 percent), followed by worms (6.69 percent). “It is interesting to note that worms have only caused six percent of infections despite accounting for almost 11 percent of all new malware,” said Corrons.
“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 banking Trojans and specimens such as the Police Virus.”
- Dropbox, Blizzzard, Adobe suffered security breaches last quarter
- Trojans, ransomware on the rise, worm attacks fading
- Good news: malware infections fell in February
- Second quarter one of the worst on record for cybersecurity
- Number of brands targeted by cyber crime at an all time high
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