Malware Creation Hits Record-High Numbers in 2013, According to PandaLabs Q3 Report

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Ten million new malware strains are identified so far in 2013. New ransomware CryptoLocker hijacks users’ documents and demands a ransom for them; DNS cache poisoning attacks are on the rise.

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Everything seems to indicate that there will be more revelations about other NSA surveillance programs to indiscriminately spy on users, companies and governments around the world.

Panda Security, The Cloud Security Company, has just published the results of its Quarterly Report for Q3 2013, drawn up by PandaLabs, the company's anti-malware laboratory. One of the main conclusions drawn from this global study is that malware creation has hit a new record high, with nearly 10 million new strains identified so far this year. The number of new malware samples in circulation in just the first nine months of 2013 has already met the 2012 figure for the entire year. Trojans remained the most pervasive threat, accounting for most new threats and infections worldwide. The full report can be found here.

One of the most notable and notorious threats over the past months was CryptoLocker, a new ransomware sample that hijacks users’ documents and demands a ransom for them. There was also a significant increase in the number of attacks that exploit DNS cache poisoning techniques. Several large websites hosted in Malaysia fell victim to this type of attack, including the regional websites of companies such as Google, Microsoft and Kaspersky.

Android continued to be the top target among all mobile platforms, despite some high-profile attacks on iOS.

Cyber-War: NSA Remains in the Eye of the Storm
As far as cyber-espionage is concerned, the United States took the spotlight off China after new revelations emerged about the clandestine PRISM program operated by the NSA (National Security Agency) to obtain user data from major U.S. companies such as Microsoft, Google, Apple and Facebook. “Everything seems to indicate that there will be more revelations about other NSA surveillance programs to indiscriminately spy on users, companies and governments around the world,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.

Q3 2013 Malware Statistics
Trojans once again topped the rankings, accounting for 76.85 percent of all new threats identified by PandaLabs, followed by worms (at a distant 13.12 percent), viruses (9.23 percent) and adware/spyware (0.57 percent).

Additionally, Trojans continued to be the weapon of choice for malware writers to infect users’ systems. 78 percent of all computer infections registered in the third quarter of 2013 were caused by Trojans, followed by viruses (6.63 percent), adware/spyware (6.05 percent) and worms (5.67percent).

Geographic Distribution of Malware Infections
Latin America remained the most-affected area by malware. The ‘Top 10’ list of most infected countries includes nations from all over the world, with China at the top with nearly 60 percent of all computers riddled with malware, followed by Turkey (46.58 percent) and Peru (42.55 percent).

At the other end of the chart, Europe continues to have the lowest infection rates. The least infected countries were Netherlands (19.19 percent), United Kingdom (20.35 percent) and Germany (20.60 percent). The only non-European country in the Top Ten was Australia, in ninth place with 26.67 percent.

For more information and detailed analysis of the current malware environment, please access the full Panda Security Q3 report here.

About Panda Security
Founded in 1990, Panda Security is the world’s leading provider of cloud-based security solutions, with products available in more than 23 languages and millions of users located in 195 countries around the world. Panda Security was the first IT security company to harness the power of cloud computing with its Collective Intelligence technology. This innovative security model can automatically analyze and classify thousands of new malware samples every day, guaranteeing corporate customers and home users the most effective protection against Internet threats with minimum impact on system performance. Panda Security has 80 offices throughout the globe with US headquarters in Florida and European headquarters in Spain.

Panda Security collaborates with The Stella Project, a program aimed at promoting the incorporation into the community and workplace of people with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility policy. For more information, please visit http://www.pandasecurity.com/.

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Jeana Tahnk
Panda Security
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