- More than 50 percent of all Chinese computers are infected with malware
- ‘Ransomware’ increases in prevalence as cyber-criminal tactic; new “Police Virus” targets users massively
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 2012. In the first quarter of 2012 alone, six million new malware samples were created, following the trend of increasingly prevalent malware statistics of previous years. The full report is available at http://press.pandasecurity.com/press-room/reports/.
Trojans set a new record as the preferred category of cybercriminals for carrying out information theft, representing 80 percent of all new malware. In 2011, Trojans ‘only’ accounted for 73 percent of all malware; worms took second place, comprising 9.30 percent of samples; followed by viruses at 6.43 percent. Interestingly in 2012, worms and viruses swapped positions from the 2011 Annual Report, where viruses stood at 14.25 percent and worms at 8 percent of all circulating malware. To see a graph of new malware distribution in Q1 2012, please visit: http://press.pandasecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/NEW-MALWARE.jpg.
When it comes to the number of infections caused by each malware category, the ranking supports the hierarchy of new samples in circulation with Trojans, worms and viruses occupying the top three spots. Interestingly, worms caused only 8 percent of all infections despite accounting for more than 9 percent of all new malware. This is quite noteworthy as worms typically caused many more infections due to their ability to propagate in an automated fashion. The figures corroborate what is well known: massive worm epidemics have become a thing of the past and have been replaced by an increasing avalanche of silent Trojans, cyber-criminals’ weapon of choice for their attacks. A graph depicting these figures is available at: http://press.pandasecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/MALWARE-INFECTIONS.jpg
China Tops List of Infections per Country
The average number of infected PCs across the globe stands at 35.51 percent, down more than three percentage points compared to 2011, according to Panda Security’s Collective Intelligence data. China once again led this ranking (54.25 percent of infected PCs), followed by Taiwan and Turkey. The list of least infected countries is dominated by European countries with nine out of the first ten places being occupied by them, the top three being Sweden, Switzerland and Norway. Japan is the only non-European country among the top ten nations with fewer than 30 percent of computers infected. To see a graph of countries with the most malware infections, please visit: http://press.pandasecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/COUNTRIES.jpg.
The Quarter at a Glance
In the report, PandaLabs highlights several top security incidents that occurred during Q1. There was a marked increase in ‘ransomware’ attacks over the past quarter due in large part to the so-called ‘Police Virus.’ The virus displays messages with logos of international law enforcement agencies to trick users into believing that their computers have been locked by the police for visiting inappropriate websites or making illegal downloads. To unlock it, users have to pay a fine, usually in the range of one hundred euros, dollars or British pounds (depending on the target of the attack). These messages are coming from the Trojans themselves. To view a screenshot of this ‘Police Malware,’ please visit: http://press.pandasecurity.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/POLICE.jpg.
The report also covers the latest attacks on Android cell phones, distribution of malware via Facebook, the Megaupload case, cyber-war and the latest activities of the Anonymous and LulzSec hacktivist groups.
Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs, states, “Although it’s still early in the year, so far what we have seen in 2012 is a continuation of past trends. Cyber-criminals are still trying to steal users’ information and money by any means possible.”
The quarterly report can be downloaded from: http://press.pandasecurity.com/press-room/reports/.