According to the Q1 2008 report from PandaLabs, adware, with 28.58 percent 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," explained Luis Corrons, Technical Director of PandaLabs.

Trojans, with 25.46 percent of all infections and worms, with 9.94 percent, were the other most prevalent malicious codes. With respect to new strains that have appeared over the last three months, 62.16 percent were Trojans, 20.34 percent were adware and 8.87 percent 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 increasingly difficult for security solutions, which will be unable to update signature files in time, leaving users unprotected," said Corrons.

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.

Threats to cell phones

PandaLabs Q1 2008 report includes a specific section on threats to cell phones: Smartphones, iPhones, etc. According to Panda Security's laboratory, the main threats to these devices are worms, Trojans and spyware (spyphone).

"Their behavior and features are similar to those of malicious codes for computers", says Corrons. "Trojans designed to steal confidential data like email passwords, instant messaging contacts etc. are the most prevalent, with 54.48 percent 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.