Identity theft from malware infections could rise as much as 600 per cent this year, according to researchers.
Security vendor PandaLabs said that the number of personal computers infected with malware designed to steal personal and financial data had jumped steeply over the past year.
Roughly 71 per cent of the 35,000 new malware samples the company sees each day are now attempting to steal data for credit cards, bank accounts and financial site login credentials.
PandaLabs said that the rise in identity theft could be due to trends in the global economy and in the cyber crime sector specifically.
"Maybe one of the reasons for this increase is the economic crisis along with the big business of selling this information on the black market, such as credit card numbers, PayPal or eBay accounts," said PandaLabs technical director Luis Corrons.
"We have also seen an increase in the distribution and infection of this kind of malware through social networks."
The rise in identity theft marks what has been an explosion in the larger cyber crime field in the past decade. Experts said in March that the market for online crime had grown into a trillion-dollar criminal enterprise.
BT wants to make the public switched telephone network history within eight years
Personal data being purloined by third parties via Facebook Login API
MacOS and iOS are better off apart, says CEO Tim Cook
Or they'll no longer be entitled to updates and bug patches