The growth of malware seems to be levelling out somewhat, according to the latest figures from security vendor McAfee, although firms still need to be wary of USB-based infections and fake anti-virus scams.
McAfee's Q1 2010 Threat Report (PDF) identified a year-on-year drop of around 500,000 pieces of malware to roughly 3.75 million.
"The first-quarter results suggest that overall growth has levelled off, but we anticipate that we're on track to catalogue at least as much malware in 2010 as in the previous year," the report noted.
McAfee security analyst Greg Day noted that the figures could be explained by a lack of innovation in malware toolkits.
"Malware-generating toolkits have really been responsible for generating this volume of malware, but we have not seen any great evolution of these," he said.
The top five list of the most popular pieces of malware for the period was dominated by auto-run related infections owing to the widespread adoption of removable devices, mainly USB drives, according to McAfee.
Day suggested that in many cases businesses are at risk from this threat because they fail to listen to their information security teams.
"We have seen these for a long time and smart security people have said to the business that this is a growing threat, but it requires user education and process change," he said. "What we've seen is a small threat becoming a big threat."
Day also highlighted the China-based Operation Aurora attacks on Google and other companies as a major incident in the quarter.
"Aurora changed people's perception of a targeted attack, and my hope is that it might be a reality check for some organisations that the bar has been raised, " he said.
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