New figures reveal as much malware was produced in 2007 as in the previous 20 years

2007 saw a steep increase in the amount of new malware, according to F-Secure’s annual Data Security Wrap-up.

In fact the amount of cumulative malware detections doubled during the year, reaching the amount of half a million, indicating that network criminals are producing new malware variants in bulk.

F-Secure’s virus labs noticed the following in 2007:

New variants of existing malware

Storm Worm botnet was adapted for much greater effectiveness

High profile data leaks gave rise to ‘spear phishing’ attacks

Rise in number of phishing sites

“We predict that the increase in malware volume will continue into 2008.

Mikko Hyponnen, chief research officer at F-Secure

Criminals developed sophisticated banking trojans that use methods such as injecting themselves directly into the browser application (man-in-the-browser attacks)

Increase in parasitic behaviour

Such as the Zlob DNSChanger and increasing security exploit activity for Apple products, including Mac’s, iTunes and the iPhone

Further evidence of mobile phone viruses

Spy tools developed for the Symbian S60 3rd edition and uploaded as ‘back-up’ software

Mikko Hyponnen, chief research officer at F-Secure, said: “We predict that the increase in malware volume will continue into 2008. The criminals are successfully creating a network-based underground ecosystem, trading both malware development tools, skills, capabilities and resources ever more effectively. At the same time the reach of the law enforcement agencies remain limited in the global network domain. 2008 will be a challenge of endurance.”