More than 27 million new strains of malware were detected on computers around the world in 2012, new statistics from security firm PandaLabs have revealed.
That averages out to around 74,000 new samples being discovered every day, and highlights just how essential ongoing cyber security and vulnerability management protocols have become.
The PandaLabs 2012 Annual Security Report also reveals that nearly a third – 31.98 per cent – of all computers scanned across the world last year had some form of malware.
The term malware is a portmanteau for malicious software, and refers to undesirable, hostile or intrusive software designed by cyber criminals for the purpose of information theft or disruption.
Just over 76 per cent of malware infections detected in 2012 were caused by Trojans, according to PandaLab, while the remaining cases were mostly caused by worms, viruses, adware and spyware.
A Trojan is a form of malware which infects itself by masquerading as a piece of desirable software, such as a downloaded online game or application in order to convince users to allow it access to secure systems.
The PandaLabs report also found that China has once again topped the list of countries with the most malware infections – nearly 55 per cent of scanned computers in that country had some form of malicious software installed during 2012.
Following closely behind was South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey and Honduras, while Bulgaria, Bolivia, Israel, Slovakia and Poland rounded out the top ten.
The good news for organisations in the Asia Pacific is that both Australia and New Zealand ranked below the global average for malware infections, at 26.60 per cent and 25.76 per cent, respectively.
However that number still reveals that a quarter of all computers in the two major centres of Australasia are infected with malware, news that should be alarming to any security conscious enterprise.
If your organisation is concerned it may be at risk of being impacted by malware or other cyber security threats, it may be prudent to undergo a thorough ethical hacking evaluation in order to determine where any potential weak points may be presenting themselves.
This way, you can move to correct these vulnerabilities before they are exploited by malicious cyber criminals.
Taking this step sooner rather than later may prove to be beneficial in the long run, as the PandaLabs report has also predicted that cyber threats will continue to put organisations at risk throughout 2013 and into the future.
"Companies will have to tighten up security measures to avoid falling victim to the increasing number of cyber-attacks, while special care will have to be taken to protect networks against operating system and application vulnerabilities, with Java posing the biggest threat due to its multiple security flaws," reads the report.
You can read the full PandaLabs 2012 Annual Security Report by clicking here.