Report: ID fraud malware infecting PCs at increasing rates

Study finds that last year a third of computers that were infected by malware designed to steal information for use in identity fraud had up-to-date antivirus software.

More than 10 million Internet users worldwide were hit with identity fraud-related malware last year, according to a new estimate from Panda Security.

The number of computers infected with active programs designed to steal personally identifiable or financial information that can be used for identity fraud, such as banker Trojans for stealing bank account information, rose by 800 percent from the first half of the year to the second half, the study found.

Of the 67 million computers that PandaLabs analyzed in 2008 for the study, 35 percent of those infected had up-to-date antivirus software installed. The number of users who have been actively exposed to identity fraud malware is about 1 percent of the worldwide population of Internet users, according to the study.

The researchers predict that the infection rate will increase by 336 percent per month throughout this year, based on the trend of the previous 14 months.

Researchers predict that the infection rate will increase by 336 percent per month throughout this year. Panda Security

About the author

Elinor Mills covers Internet security and privacy. She joined CNET News in 2005 after working as a foreign correspondent for Reuters in Portugal and writing for The Industry Standard, the IDG News Service, and the Associated Press. E-mail Elinor.


Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
15 crazy old phones from a Korean museum (pictures)
10 gloriously geeky highlights from 2014 (pictures)
2015.5 Volvo XC60: updated tech, understated design
Busted! CNET readers show us their broken devices (pictures)
Take a closer look at the BlackBerry Classic (pictures)