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Fortinet: Malicious code hits record-high in Jan

Led by botnet charge, over 9,000 pieces of unique malware were tracked in January, twice the number in December 2009, security vendor reveals in new report.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor on

The amount of unique malware tracked by security vendor Fortinet, reached an all-time high in January.

Its distinct malware volume soared to over 9,000 last month, more than twice that in December, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif., Fortinet collects data from its FortiGate network security appliances and intelligence systems located globally, and compiles monthly threat statistics from the data.

Topping the charts were variants of Bredolab, accounting for more than 40 percent of all malware activity. The Bredolab downloader program, which has assumed the No. 1 position since November 2009, has been associated with the Gumblar attacks, said Fortinet.

Also highlighted in the report was the wave of attacks known as Operation Aurora--a major talking point following Google's threat last month to pull out of China. Fortinet said the attack, which uses a zero-day vulnerability in Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, was ranked No. 4 on the list of top 10 attacks for January.

The peak volume of threat activity last month signaled that 2010 will likely be "another action-packed year", Derek Manky, Fortinet's project manager for cybersecurity and threat research, said in the statement.

"The amount of malicious code in the wild is increasing...while in-the-wild exploits and emerging zero-day attacks targeting very popular software, like Microsoft IE and Adobe PDF, create a vulnerable environment for users at every point of connectivity," he noted. "As the monetary gains of these threats continue to prove [valuable] to the criminals creating them, we'll only continue to see new and creative attacks take form."

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