Panda predicts more financial scams for 2004.

Watch out for more financial scams this year as hackers turn their attention to more profitable forms of trouble-making.

At the same time, viruses and other forms of malware will still continue to plague users, the company predicted.

"With the information we gained from SQLSlammer and Klez [last year], we anticipate the possibility of seeing fast infectors, with some special features such as denial of service, database deleting, robbery of information etc," said Fernando de la Cuadra, a technical director with Panda.

"In 2003 we saw some of the most widely spread worms of the internet age - SQLSlammer, Bugbear.B, Sobig.F, Blaster. They used combined attacks to spread, such as spam, they included trojans to steal information and they exploited software vulnerabilities."

The company said unpatched software vulnerabilities remained the biggest problem for users, and provided hackers with their biggest opportunity to do damage.

www.pandasoftware.com