Malware in 2010: A Recap

Did you know that 34% of all malware that has ever existed was created in 2010 alone? A recent annual report includes startling facts like these, as well as other insight into the status of malware in the year 2010.

In terms of malware production in 2010, there’s actually some good news to go along with the aforementioned stat: the rate at which threats are growing is actually decreasing. Since 2003, the number of new threats has been doubling every year except for 2010. In 2010, instead of doubling (i.e., a 100% increase), it increased only by 50%.

The annual report did include some other unsettling trends though…

Social Media Malware

Social media malware experienced an increase in 2010, especially on Facebook and Twitter (but also on other sites like LinkedIn and Fotolog).

The rise in social media malware is accompanied by a variety of techniques to con users. Some popular tactics include hijacking Facebook’s ‘Like’ button, sending messages from apparently trustworthy contacts through identity theft, and distributing fake apps.

Malware Goes Political

Another prominent trend in 2010 was the rise in activist attacks on websites, known as hacktivism. One obvious example is the barrage of DDoS attacks organized by the group ‘Anonymous’ in support of Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange. The operation helped bring down several major companies’ websites.

The Stuxnet worm was another salient example of politically charged malware. Many believe it to be a state-backed piece of malware designed to dismantle complex industrial systems. Because of the high number of infections in Iran, several researchers allege that Iran may be the intended target, but nothing has been confirmed as of yet.


Also noteworthy in 2010 was the dramatic rise in rogueware or fake antivirus software. Evidently, 40% of all fake antivirus programs were created in 2010.

Looking Forward to 2011

In 2011, we’re likely to see more hacktivism, social media attacks, and attacks on mobile phones and tablets. So make sure you’re up-to-date—not only on the latest threats, but also in terms of your antivirus and antispyware software.

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