Soaring malware loads and social networking scams are among the major security trends catalogued by Cisco in recent months.
The company's latest Global Threat Report found that the number of new malware samples soared in the first quarter of 2011, while social networking sites are being targeted much more frequently for so-called 'like-jacking' attacks.
Cisco said that its research network collected more than 105,000 unique malware samples in March, showing a sharp rise over the previous quarter and a 46 per cent rise since January.
"The continued increase in the volume of unique web malware is concerning," said Cisco senior security researcher Mary Landesman.
Enterprises need to shift away from relying on 'passive protection' systems, Landesman told V3.co.uk, and move towards forensics-based security platforms that can actively stop attacks in progress.
The quarter also saw an increase in a particular type of social networking scam known as 'like-jacking'.
The tactic involves using hidden buttons in the Facebook link-recommendation system to trick people into 'liking' a page, and placing it in their news feed to spread the link to others.
Cisco found that 'like-jacking' operations went from 0.54 per cent of all web attacks in January to more than six per cent in March.
The Global Threat Report also found that, while the takedown of botnets such as Rustock has helped to drive down some spam activity, other networks and regions have begun to pick up the slack.
"What struck me was the shifting of the tide in terms of spam. We as an industry have been bringing down a lot of botnets, and it almost becomes less about temporary volume reductions and more about removing this from certain countries and seeing other countries rise," said Landesman.
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