Kaspersky Lab's new malware count falls but other AV provider have different figures

Kaspersky Lab's new malware count falls as cyber-criminals look to save money - but other AV providers dispute Kaspersky's figures.

Eugene Kaspersky, CEO, Kaspersky Lab
Eugene Kaspersky, CEO, Kaspersky Lab

According to Kaspersky Lab, 2015 was the year that saw the number of new malware files detected every day fall by 15,000, from 325,000 in 2014 to 310,000.

Kaspersky Lab believes this is mainly down to the cost of coding new malware and cyber-criminals realising that they can get equally good results using intrusive advertising programs known as ‘malvertising' or legitimate digital signatures in their attacks.

Cyber-criminals in search of a quick return appear to have decided that complex coding tools such as rootkits, bootkits or replicating viruses, may bring results, but at a cost, reducing their overall margins and revenue.

This approach appears to be working according to Kaspersky Lab, as results show that despite the cost-cutting in malware creation, in 2015 the number of users attacked by cyber-criminals increased by 5 percent .

Vyacheslav Zakorzhevsky, head of anti-malware team at Kaspersky Lab said: "Cyber-crime has lost the last touch of romance. Today, malware is created, bought and resold for specific tasks. The commercial malware market has settled, and is evolving towards simplification. I think will we no longer see malicious 'code for the code'. This trend is also observed among the operators of targeted attacks."

However, Sean Sullivan, F-Secure's security advisor, said in an email to SCMagazineUK.com that despite not wanting to comment on anyone else's numbers, that “counting” malware is a strange business, and pointed to AVTest's ‘new' malware numbers, saying that Kaspersky are off by quite a bit.

Back in October, our sister magazine SCMagazine.com in the US reported that twelve new malware strains were created per minute during the first half of 2015. 

In an interview with SCMagazine.com Andy Hayter, security evangelist at G Data, said that people in the security business are already well aware of the immense malware growth rate. “It's getting more and more complex and the bad guys are finding new ways to take advantage of the low-hanging fruit, or users who aren't as technically aware," he said. 

Meanwhile, a new report published last month by IT security firm Bit9 + Carbon Black's threat research team analysed more than 1,400 unique OS X malware samples and said that 2015 has been the “worst year in history for Mac malware".

And the Q1 Quarterly Threat Report by McAfee Labs said its malware zoo grew 13 percent from Q4 2014 to Q1 2015 and now contains 400 million samples.

Speaking to SCMagazineUK.com, Matt White, ex-KPMG information protection and business resilience manager said, “What Kaspersky are probably trying to say here is that they are ahead of the game, and that other AV companies are playing catch-up. But most likely what we're seeing here is differences in how the different malware strains are classified i.e. what makes it ‘new'?"