Report: Cybercriminals Are Cooking up Malware in Record Numbers

2015 was a record year for the number of malware samples, a total that stands at 84 million new samples from 2014. That’s already 9 million more new malware strains than 2014.

Researchers from Panda Security have released figures to claim a total of 84 million new malware samples that were detected and disabled in 2015.

A press release by the Spanish security company revealed the startling number to be nine million new samples more than the previous year – 2014. Essentially, that’s 230,000 new malware samples produced every single day on average throughout 2015.

2015 also saw another record notched up wherein 27 percent of all malware samples – ever recorded – were observed during the previous year.

The highlights revealed that:

  • Trojans proved to be the undisputed king of malware at 51.45% of all collected samples.
  • Viruses constituted for 22.79%
  • Worms came after at 13.22%.
  • Potentially unwanted programs or PUPs figured in next at 10.71% followed by cases of spyware at 1.83%.

The notorious Cryptolocker ransomware was the most destructive, far-reaching and widely-scaled cyberattack of them all, affecting hundreds of thousands, if not millions of computers around the world.

Luis Corrons, technical director of PandLabs was quick to explain why:

Cryptolocker is the best bet for cybercriminals, as it is one of the easiest ways of getting money. Also, it has shown itself to be very effective, especially in the case of businesses that don’t think twice about paying to recover their stolen information.

Furthermore, Trojans are generally considered to the cause for the most number of infections around the world. At 60.30%, they had the greatest range of infection, although that’s a number that fell down 5% from 2014.

PUPs through phishing attacks and other payloads were also ahead of Adware/Spyware, worms and viruses, causing nearly a third of the infections among targeted PCs.

Additional insights revealed that China was the country with the most number of infected computers, at 57.24%. The figure is a steep 30% raise from 2014. Taiwan came next at 49.15% with Turkey coming third at 42.52%. The top three infected countries have remained the same and in that order since 2013.

On the flipside, nine of the top ten countries with the lowest rates of infection were in Europe, with Japan the only other country figuring outside the continent.

Finland was named the country with the lowest rate of infection at 20.32%. Norway totaled 20.51% while Sweden made a clean sweep of Nordic nations at 20.88%.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.