Malware creation breaks new records in Q2 2015

PandaLabs, the malware research arm of Panda Security, has published its latest quarterly report showing that malware creation levels have broken new records.

It reveals that in the second quarter of 2015 there were an average of 230,000 new malware samples detected each day, which means a total of 21 million new types in these three months. Compared to the same period last year, where there were 160,000 registered samples, this is an increase of 43 per cent.

The majority of these samples are variants of known malware, mutated by cybercriminals to try and stop the antivirus laboratories from detecting the infections. Trojans continue to be the most common source of infection, with 76.25 per cent of users infected by this type of malware. This quarter also saw the proliferation of PUPs (Potentially Unwanted Programs) which accounted for 14.39 per cent of infections, placed just behind Trojans.

Cryptolocker remains a major threat as cybercriminals have begun to reuse an old technique to infect users. This involves using macros in Office documents, especially Word. To complete the attack, the criminals included a blurred image which could only been seen if the user activated the macros. Once the user does this, they are infected with Cryptolocker.

"Cyber hackers are looking at businesses more and more as it is relatively easy for them to steal information," says Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs. "Sometimes it's as simple as introducing a variant of Cryptolocker in a file that is sent to an employee and, once it’s opened, the security of the entire company is at risk".

Looked at geographically, the areas with the highest rate of infection were Asia and Latin America, which placed above the average of rate of infection (33.21 per cent). China was the country with the highest rate of infection on 47.53 per cent, followed by Turkey or 43.11 per cent and Peru on 41.97 per cent.

At the other end of the scale, Europe and Japan were the areas with the lowest rates of infection. Sweden on 21.57 per cent, Norway on 22.22 per cent, and Japan on 23.57 per cent are the countries with the lowest infection rates worldwide, followed by Switzerland on 24.41 per cent and the UK coming fifth on 25.17 per cent.

Despite Europe's overall strong record, some European countries recorded infection rates above the global average. These include Spain on 36.37 per cent, Poland on 38.48 per cent, and Slovenia on 38.05 per cent. In Latin America there were rates of 38.21 per cent in Brazil and 37.86 per cent in Colombia.

More detail is available in the full report which is available on the Panda website.

Image Credit: Sergey Nivens/Shutterstock