One third of existing viruses were created and distributed in 2010: PandaLabs

by CXOtoday Staff    Jan 14, 2011

virusPandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory at Panda Security, a cloud security company, has published its 2010 annual security report, which warns against cyber-crime, cyber-war and cyber-activism.

In 2010, cyber-criminals have created and distributed a third of all existing viruses and also 34 percent of malware that has ever existed and classified by the company. Furthermore, the Collective Intelligence system, which automatically detects, analyzes and classifies 99.4 percent of all malware received, currently stores 134 million unique files, out of which 60 million are malware (viruses, worms, Trojans and other computer threats), stated the report. However, there’s a decline in the speed of growth of new threats, with respect to 2009.

Banker Trojans forms 56 percent of all samples of new malware that has appeared in 2010, followed by viruses and worms. It is interesting to note that 11.6 percent of all the malware gathered in the Collective Intelligence database is rogueware or fake antivirus software, a malware category that despite appearing only four years ago is creating much havoc among users.

The list of countries with the most infections is topped by Thailand, China and Taiwan, with 60 to 70 percent of infected computers.

Despite dismantling of some botnets (Operation Mariposa or Bredolad) for preventing many computers sending spam, spam remained as one of the main threats in 2010. Spam has kept its position as one of the main threats in 2010, despite the fact that the dismantling of some botnets (like the famous Operation Mariposa or Bredolad) has prevented many computers from being used as zombies to send spam, which has had a positive effect in spam traffic worldwide. Last year, around 95 percent of all email traffic globally was spam, yet this figure dropped to an average of 85 percent in 2010.

Stuxnet, a worm, targeted nuclear power plants and actually managed to infect the Bushehr plant, as confirmed at least by the Iranian authorities. Simultaneously, a new worm appeared –’Here you have’–that spread using old-school methods and was created by a terrorist organization known as ‘Brigades of Tariq ibn Ziyad’. According to this group, their intention was to remind the United States of the 9-11 attacks and call for respect for the Islamic religion as a response to Pastor Terry Jones’ threat of burning the Quran, stated the report.

And even though some aspects are still to be clarified, Operation Aurora has also been in the spotlight. The attack allegedly launched from China, targeted employees of some large multinationals by installing a Trojan on their PCs that could access all their confidential information.

New phenomenon like cyber-protests or hacktivism, made famous by the Anonymous group, has grabbed the headlines in 2010 for the coordinated DDoS attacks launched on copyright societies and their defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Besides offering information about the main security holes in Windows and Mac, the 2010 annual security report also covers the most important security incidents affecting the most popular social networking sites.

There are several techniques for tricking users: hickjacking Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, stealing identities to send out messages from trusted sources, exploiting vulnerabilities in Twitter to run javascript code, distributing fake apps that redirect users to infected sites, etc, warned the company.