Ten million PCs infected by identity theft malware

Study shows 35% of those infected have updated antivirus software installed

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  March 11, 2009

A little over 1% of all internet users are exposed to identity theft malware a study by IT security vendor Panda Security revealed.

Based on the online analysis of 67 million computers in 2008, the company found that more than 10 million users worldwide were infected with potentially harmful malware related to identity theft, such as Banker Trojans that are designed to steal account information from banks and their customers.

The number of infected PCs jumped to 800% from the first half of 2008 to the second half.

Even more shocking was the fact that 35% of those infected had updated antivirus software installed.

With most antivirus labs receiving approximately 30,000 new malware samples every single day, the threat is a serious concern and shows no sign of abating this year as well.

“We expect to see a 336 percent monthly growth rate of this malicious identity theft malware in 2009, fueled by the huge business behind this particular type of cybercrime,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs, the research arm of Panda Security.

3744 days ago
Charlotte Raina

The data is alarming , however what are the measures one must take to eliminate the risk of being infected by this malware. The article does not state this and leaves teh reader wondering so now what do to next.

3746 days ago

It is fair to say that most of the malware produced since 2008 has some backdoor/information theft features that will enable identity theft. It would have been nice if Panda had actually published the names and versions of the virus families that specifically target ID theft such as the Gammima/AG and Gamepass variants and give stats on those. Interestingly most Trojan/Banker variants actually are region specific targeting banks in Brazil, or UK for example, so the threat is not as bleak as it may first sound, as more than likely; perhaps one out of 1000 Banker variants may actually target the clients of a bank in the Middle East, usually a .com.sa bank. I guess as the end of quarter draws to a close we will yet again be 'flooded' with Threat reports ...all from vendors claiming to have the world's best intelligence on the matter and all contradicting each other; leaving most organizations somewhat confused by the anti-climax of rehashed threat report variations spouting forth from vendors A to Z. Interesting question: if antivirus vendors are drawing security threat intelligence primarily from customers using their security products; do these sorts of reports and statistics actually indicate that the vendor’s technology failed to stop their customer’s PCs from being infected, and that is therefore how they are able to gather such statistics? If so; it would probably be safer for vendors to say ‘ attempted infections’ in their reports rather than ‘actual infections’, lest they let the ‘cat out of the bag’ about their actual data sources and highlight possible product failings.

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