During the first half of the year, more than 1.2 million unique samples of malware hit the web. That is well ahead of the pace of last year and could put this year in the record books, according to research by McAfee Avert Labs.
"In the first half of 2009, we have seen three times the unique malware discovered in the same period in 2008," Dave Marcus, director of security research and communications at McAfee, said in a statement. "This tremendous growth is a signal of daunting times for users as malware infiltrates more and more of the platforms we trust."
The increase in the amount of malware equates to about 6,000 new samples daily.
“Bear in mind these are malware we consider unique (or something we had to write a driver for) and does not count all the other malware we detect generically and heuristically,” Marcus wrote in a post on the McAfee Avert Labs blog. “When you add in the generic and heuristic detections, the number becomes truly mind boggling.”
McAfee also reported other statistical findings, including that 30 to 40 percent of all password-stealing trojans focus on gaming and virtual worlds. Also, 80 percent of all banking emails are basically phishing spam, and the average loss per victim from phishing is $866.
“There are many reasons why malware continues to grow, but it is mainly a criminal's game at this point,” Marcus wrote in the blog. “Malware steals data. The people that write and distribute malware are criminals.”