The average number of malware threats created every day, including new malware and variants of existing families, has increased by 14.5% from 55,000 in 2009 to 63,000 in 2010, according to a report by Panda Security’s anti-malware laboratory.
The report said that one-third of all malware in existence was created in the first 10 months of 2010 and the average lifespan of 54% of malware has been reduced to 24 hours, compared to a lifespan of several months that was more common in previous years.
The report said that 34% of all active malware threats were created in the first ten months of 2010 and approximately 20 million new strains of malware have been created already this year; the same total for the year of 2009 in its entirety.
The malware research division said the shortened lifespan of malware and increased number of variants is proof of a significant shift in the cybercrime landscape as many malware variants are created to infect just a few systems before they disappear.
As antivirus offerings become able to detect new malware more quickly, hackers modify them or create new ones so as to evade detection.
The changing malware strains make it important to have protection technologies which can neutralise new malware and reduce the risk window to which users are exposed during these first 24 hours, Panda Security said.