A third of all the malware in existence was created last year, and social media, black hat search engine optimisation techniques and zero-day vulnerabilities were the most common routes to infection, according to the latest annual report from Panda Security.
The PandaLabs Annual Report 2010 (PDF) revealed that the security vendor's database currently stores 134 million unique files, 60 million of which are malware.
Trojans dominate with 56 per cent of all samples, followed by viruses and worms, while fake anti-virus software has proliferated rapidly over the past four years to reach 11.6 per cent of all malware.
However, the good news is that the speed at which the number of new threats is growing has dropped over the year, according to the vendor.
New threats have grown by at least 100 per cent every year since 2003, but increased by just 50 per cent in 2010.
Panda also highlighted the rise of state-sponsored threats, as illustrated by the Stuxnet and Operation Aurora attacks, and hacktivism in 2010.
Spam is highlighted as a major threat during the period, with levels hitting around 85 per cent in 2010. However, these levels dropped dramatically over the Christmas period, according to statistics released yesterday by Symantec Hosted Services.
Last year was also notable for the increased success with which law enforcers and others combated the growth of cyber crime, Panda said.
"Several arrests have been made during the year, in particular those of Operation Mariposa which were the result of investigative work by police forces in many countries," the report noted.
"Even though there is a long way to go before we can feel truly secure, at least we are heading in the right direction."
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