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Symantec Global internet Security threat report

Malicious Code Trends

Symantec gathers malicious code intelligence from more than 133 million client, server, and gateway systems that have deployed its antivirus products. Underpinning these products are the Symantec Digital immune System and Symantec Scan and Deliver technologies, as well as norton Community Watch, which allow customers to automate the process of reporting viruses and other malicious code threats.

this discussion is based on malicious code samples reported in 2009, with the following trends being analyzed:

  • Malicious code signatures

  • new malicious code families

  • prevalence of malicious code types

  • Staged downloaders—multiple infections by type

  • Downloaded components

  • Geolocation by type of malicious code

  • threats to confidential information

  • propagation mechanisms

  • Malicious code that exploits vulnerabilities

  • Malicious code—protection and mitigation

Malicious code signatures

Symantec monitors the proliferation of malicious code by examining the number of new malicious code signatures created to detect threats from each reporting period. Monitoring trends in the number of new malicious threats can help improve awareness of their danger and underscores the importance of maintaining robust security, including up-to-date antivirus signatures and software patches.

in 2009, Symantec created 2,895,802 new malicious code signatures (figure 10). this is a 71 percent increase over 2008, when 1,691,323 new malicious code signatures were added. Although the percentage increase in signatures added is less than the 139 percent increase from 2007 to 2008, the overall number of malicious code signatures by the end of 2009 grew to 5,724,106. this means that of all the malicious code signatures created by Symantec, 51 percent of that total was created in 2009. this is slightly less than 2008, when approximately 60 percent of all signatures at the time were created.

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