The past six months has seen "a vast drop" in the volume of new viruses and worms, but researchers warn that the fall has been offset by a sharp hike in malicious malware used by cyber-criminals to steal information and money.
The Sophos Security Threat Management Report Update published today reveals that new Trojans now outweigh viruses and worms by a factor of four to one, compared to two to one in the first half of 2005.
In addition, the continued prevalence of Windows-based threats has prompted Sophos to suggest that many home users should consider switching to Apple Macs to shield themselves from the malware onslaught.
Findings show that the most widespread threat from January to June this year was the Sober-Z worm which, at its peak, accounted for one in every 13 emails.
The worm's dominance is evidence of a trend away from email virus attacks, since Sober-Z maintains a monopoly despite having stopped spreading on 6 January.
Further reinforcing this, only one in every 91 of all emails were viral in the first six months of this year, compared with one in every 35 for the same period in 2005.
In contrast to the dramatic drop in worms and viruses, the report found that the overall level of malware continues to rise, indicating that spyware, Trojans and phishing are now the more favoured methods of attack for cyber-criminals.
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