Number of new computer viruses at record high

Social network users are cyber criminals' favourite targets

09/09/2010 | Bochum (Germany) 

Most of us use internet-based social networks such as Facebook or LinkedIn. However, this enormous popularity also attracts cyber criminals, who in turn are using such networks to attack us. The perpetrators use purpose made computer viruses to gain access to personal data of network users. But apart from this, G Data has noted a general increase in malware this year: the number of new computer viruses has already reached a new record for the first half of 2010, with 1,017,208 malware programs. This represents an increase of 50 percent compared to last year. Experts at G Data SecurityLabs are predicting a record total of over two million new malware programs for 2010 as a whole.

"The current numbers are alarming. The malware industry has published nearly four new viruses per minute in the first half of the year. We expect the two million barrier to be broken in the second half of the year,” says Eddy Willems, G Data’s Security Evangelist. “Attackers are targeting social networks and their members. These are especially profitable targets because of their high number and their interlinked nature. Security vulnerabilities and reoccurring data leaks are making things even easier for criminals.”

Malware for Windows the undisputed number 1

Windows users are still the number one target: 99.4 percent of all new malware of the first half of this year was written for Microsoft’s operating system. The other 0.6% targeted systems that contain e.g. Unix or Java technologies.


With 1,017,208 new malware programs in the first half of 2010, G Data experts counted more new virus than ever before in a six month period. At the end of June 2010, G Data had found as many new threats as last year at the end of September.  



As before, Trojan horses dominate the top 5 malware categories, with a share of 42.6%. A big part of this category is made up by bogus antivirus programs and ransomware. Malware such as downloaders and droppers retain second place with a steady share of 20.3%.


In the past six months many types of new spyware have appeared. Many of these are part of banking trojans or keyloggers. Spyware is the biggest growing of all malware categories. Spyware enables attackers to steal access data, for instance to social networks.


The proportion of backdoors has dropped in comparison to the last half of 2009, coming in fourth place with 12%. Cyber criminals use such viruses to gain remote access to computers. Last place in the top 5 goes to worms, with 53,609 malware programs.


The flood of new malware will continue to increase. Experts at G Data SecurityLabs expect over two million new computer viruses will have been discovered by the end of the year. In the future, social networks and their users will be abused even more for criminal purposes than before. Attackers are increasingly looking at alternatives to Windows, such as Unix derivatives and Java

Detailed information, trends and a summary of the most significant results and figures can be found in the “G Data Malware Report - half-year report for January to June 2010”.