The increase was a substantial jump from 2006, when malware examples increased by 172 percent over 2005, according to Panda Security.
Researchers at the Madrid-based anti-virus vendor received an average of more than 3,000 strains of malware per day during 2007.
Ryan Sherstobitoff, chief corporate evangelist at Panda, told SCMagazine.com today that 72 percent of networks tested by his company contained active threats.
Cybercriminals are attempting to flood networks with more malware than the networks can handle, he said.
“The idea behind the saturation is that if they can put too much [malware] out in the field, they can hope the protection is not up to date and some can slip below the radar,” said Sherstobitoff. “What's occurring is that a lot of groups from Russia, Taiwan and other places are creating a lot of new malware for doing economic fraud.”
Dave Mackey, director of the operations center at IT-ISAC, a nonprofit information-sharing and analysis center, told SCMagazineUS.com today that his group relies mostly on data from IBM- Internet Security Systems' X-Force lab, which also showed a marked increase of malware variants.
This year, viruses outpaced their 2006 total by September, when 210,000 new samples were counted. Trojans, accounting for 28 percent of all malware, were the most commonly seen malware type, according to the researcher.
Mackey declined to use the term “epidemic” to describe the malware landscape, but said cybercriminals are getting more sophisticated.
“I can say that from an IT-ISAC Operations Center perspective, the majority of the threats and attacks we deal with now revolve around a smarter, more deceptive rash of malware and malware-spreading techniques,” he said. “As those threats evolve, so are our protection and mitigation techniques.”