According to a new report from Panda Labs, 80% of the malware infections discovered in Q1 2013 were Trojans. These numbers are similar to the trends from 2012, where Trojans were the majority of infection types worldwide.
The first quarter’s count, which includes more than 6 million new malware samples, breaks the previous infection record from Q3 and Q4 2012. Despite the fact Trojans can’t spread on their own, criminals selected this type of malware 80% of the time in order to help them carry out information theft.
The boom in Trojan infections can be tracked to the number of compromised websites hosting crime kits, which in turn target vulnerabilities in browser plug-ins like Java, Adobe Reader, etc.
In addition to infection types, Panda’s report also examines location, naming China, Ecuador, Turkey, Argentina, and Peru as having the most infected PCs in the quarter. Globally, more than 30% on the Web are infected.
The list of least infected countries is dominated by European nations, according to Panda’s figures. The country with the fewest infections is Finland, followed by Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K., and Norway.
In a related story, Commtouch also released a Q1 2013 overview, backing some of the conclusions Panda had, including the noticeable increase in the usage of the Blackhole crime kit. When it came to the types of legit sites that were hijacked to host the crime kits, often without the owner’s knowledge, education-related domains were the top risk.
Current news was used extensively last quarter to lure victims to Web sites infected with crime kits. The fake email news alerts – allegedly coming from CNN or the BBC – exploited topics such as the election of the new pope, or the financial crisis in Cyprus.
Commtouch also said that the quarter saw a huge spike in malicious emails – to the tune of 973 million malicious per day. Comparing to the numbers from February, March’s malicious mail volume climbed 75%.
“The dramatic rise in the quantity of unwanted and dangerous emails during the first quarter of 2013 shows that email communication is still one of the key attack vectors,” said Avi Turiel, director of threat research and market analysis at Commtouch.
“Email is still the most popular communication tool for private users and businesses alike, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals,” Turiel added.