A whopping 61% of all new malware in circulation during the first few months of 2010 were banker Trojans – malicious code designed to steal confidential banking information such as passwords.

This is according to Panda Security’s anti-malware lab which released its quarterly report yesterday.
In a period marked by a surge in new malware, old-fashioned viruses staged a comeback after having seen a decline in recent years, accounting for 15,13% of new variants, the second largest segment.
“This virus activity is most likely a strategy designed to draw the attention of antivirus laboratories away from other threats,” says the head of Panda Security’s sub-Saharan operations, Jeremy Matthews. “In any case, it is a strategy that has clearly failed, as it has resulted in an even greater dedication of resources in anti-malware laboratories.”
The infection ranking, generated from data supplied by the Panda ActiveScan, sees Spain once again in first place, with over 35% of computers infected. Then come the US, Mexico and Brazil.
So far, 2010 has been a busy year in other areas of IT security. Panda, in conjunction with Defense Intelligence and international law enforcement agencies dismantled Mariposa, one of the largest botnets known to date. Panda also revealed that malware from Mariposa was being distributed in phones from Vodafone.
BlackHat SEO attacks, which became popular during 2009, continue to be used by cyber-crooks who exploited the first quarter’s newsworthy topics like Facebook and the launch of Apple’s iPad. BlackHat SEO involves the manipulation of search engine results to distribute malware (mostly fake antivirus products) by directing unsuspecting users to dodgy sites when they’re busy searching for something entirely unrelated.