The vast majority of malware is created with criminal intent as black-hat hackers turn from technical one-upmanship to seeking real financial gain, according to a new report.
Some 88 per cent of the new malware detected in the second quarter of 2006 was related to cyber-crime, reported PandaLabs in its latest global report.
"The results show how malware creators are concentrating on profiting from their efforts, creating increasing numbers of Trojans and bots," said Luis Corrons, director of PandaLabs.
"The greatest danger is that Trojans are installed and operate silently without users noticing any of the typical symptoms of infection, and victims are unaware that their computers are being used to steal from them or even from third parties."
Over 54 per cent of the new malware detected by PandaLabs comprised Trojans, compared to 47 per cent in the previous quarter.
Trojans are highly versatile and can be used for a variety of nefarious actions such as stealing bank details or downloading other malicious applications.
Bot-building Trojans, used to assemble networks of zombie PCs from which criminal gangs can launch denial of service attacks or spread spam, represented 16 per cent of the total, up from 12 per cent the previous quarter.
New backdoor Trojans accounted for 12 per cent, while rogue diallers represented just 3.8 per cent of all malware. Adware and spyware accounted for 1.7 per cent.
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Counterfeit code-signing certificates enabling hackers to hide malware being sold by cyber criminals
Certificates can be used as part of layered obfuscation to evade detection by anti-virus software