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Mobile menaces, adware dominated Q1 threatscape

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According to the PandaLabs Q1 2008 report, adware – with 28.58% of all infections – was the type of malware that infected most computers in the first three months of the year.

“Adware is a type of malicious code that shows ads while users surf the web. Besides being annoying, many variants can compromise the computer’s security or performance, so users should take precautions,” explains Jeremy Matthews, head of Panda’s sub-Saharan Africa operations.
Trojans, with 25.46% of all infections and worms, with 9.94%, were the other most prevalent malicious codes.
With respect to new strains that have appeared over the last three months, 62.16% were Trojans, 20.34% were adware and 8.87% were worms.
“The huge amount of new Trojans put in circulation every month indicates that cyber-criminals are interested in creating new strains more frequently, making detection more and more difficult for conventional antivirus solutions, which will be unable to update signature files in time. This means users are left unprotected,” says Matthews.
As for the most active viruses in the first quarter of 2008, the list is headed by the Comet adware. In second place is NaviPromo, another adware, and third is the Bagle.HX worm, designed to spread and infect as many PCs as possible.
PandaLabs Q1 2008 report also outlines the burgeoning threats to cell phones. The main threats to these devices are specially adapted worms, Trojans and spyware (spyphone).
“Their behavior and features are similar to those of malicious codes for computers,” says Matthews. “Trojans designed to steal confidential data like email passwords, instant messaging contacts etc. are the most prevalent, with 54.48% of all infections. This shows attacks against cell phones are becoming increasingly sophisticated”.
The most common effects of malware for cell phones are the following, according to PandaLabs:
* Malfunction: cell phone blocking.
* Loss of productivity: battery consumption.
* Unnecessary costs: sending of SMS to premium numbers.
* Loss of data and information: deletion of folders and messages.
* Theft of confidential information: phone numbers, SMS or other sensitive data that could be stored in the device.
PandaLabs Q1 2008 report includes information on issues such as the main vulnerabilities discovered over the first three months of the year – such as an innovative attack that uses rootkits capable of replacing the computer’s Master Boot record (MBR) as well as an analysis of the evolution of “Storm Worm”, one of the most prevalent worms last year.