The first self-replicating program, Creeper, was created back in 1971 and was the forerunner of millions of strains of malware that were to appear in the years ahead.

You may be forgiven for thinking that viruses, worms, Trojans, et al then came into being at a steady rate in the next 43 years as that would be a reasonable assumption. The truth, however, is somewhat different – 20% of all malware actually appeared during the course of 2013.

According to a new report from Panda Security, 2013 saw a total of 30 million new strains of malware, equivalent to an average of 82,000 new samples every day.

The report details the spread of new malware thus:

  • Trojans – 71.11%
  • Worms – 13.30%
  • Viruses – 8.49%
  • Adware and Spyware – 6.93%
  • Other – 0.17%

Unsurprisingly, the breakdown of actual infections follows a familiar pattern with Trojans accounting for 78.97% of all system compromises.

The actual spread of infection varies by quite some margin around the world. Loosely speaking, European nations have less instances of malware infection than other geographical locations.

The UK is ranked as the nation with the 4th lowest rate of malware infection at 22.14%, with the likes of Sweden, Norway and Finland having the cleanest devices with an infection rate around one per cent lower.

The nations with the highest level of infection include the likes of China (54.03%), Turkey (42.15%) and Ecuador (40.35%).

China’s susceptibility to malware may be explained by its high continued reliance upon Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, a situation which may explain the software company’s decision to continue offering support for the legacy OS.

Whilst the continued proliferation of malware is undoubtedly a concern, data breaches and targeted attacks may be of more concern in the future.

PandaLabs highlights attacks that targeted major tech companies such as Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Twitter, as well as the massive breach at Adobe which saw over 38 million accounts compromised.

The report also pointed out some of the high profile social network attacks over the course of last year which saw the accounts of the Associated Press, Burger King and McDonald’s compromised.

Unsurprisingly, PandaLabs also determines that mobile malware is a concern, pointing out that Android is the preferred target of those who develop such malware.

Whilst many observers look at revelations from Edward Snowden and the implications to personal privacy and questions as to government motives, this report from PandaLabs reiterates the need for individuals to consider the security of their own personal devices, and businesses to remained focused on their internal security measures against a variety of different attack vectors.

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