For the first time, the amount of malicious software being released has outstripped that of legitimate software, according to new research.
Malware now makes up the majority of all new applications: 65 percent of the 54,609 applications developed and released to the public for Windows-based PCs in the past six months were malicious, according to Symantec's latest threat report.
Craig Scroggie, vice president of Symantec Australia told ZDNet.com.au the shift in balance between good and bad software is the result of malicious code writing becoming professional, propped up by a thriving black market in credit card information and other financial data.
"Business is booming for underground activity... We're seeing the price of goods change to reflect supply and demand [of the availability of financial details] as well as bulk pricing being offered."
Of the 2,134 application vulnerabilities recorded in the latest report, Web applications dominated the list, making up 58 percent of the total. Symantec claims that over 70 percent of these were "easily exploitable". Web browser Mozilla Firefox was also found to have contained more vulnerabilities than Internet Explorer in the report.