More than 40 per cent of companies worldwide reported business disruptions due to malware to Webroot Software researchers, the company reported this week.

Webroot announced the findings of the survey, along with other observations and research findings in its State of Internet Security report. It found that along with business disruptions, many businesses are spending more on help desk functions as a result of malware infections.

In one case study laid out in the report, Webroot found that a company with 14,000 workstations lost $108,000 due to malware infections.

According to the Webroot study, 39 per cent of companies reported Trojan horse attacks, 24 per cent reported system monitor attacks and 20 per cent reported pharming and keylogger attacks.

In addition, 26 per cent of businesses reported that confidential information was compromised as a result of spyware.

In spite of this, Webroot executives said that businesses still aren’t treating the threats seriously enough.

"Despite the growth and severity of malware, over 60 per cent of businesses don't have a security plan. Businesses need to control this threat by adequately protecting themselves and their customers," said Peter Watkins, CEO of Webroot.

Even as businesses fail to advance their security strategies, hackers are moving forward with their attacks. Watkins said that the state-of-the-art methods of infection of 2006 are now par for the course.

Increasingly, many of these methods use the Web as an attack vector, Webroot reported. Company researchers found that 1.7 per cent of 250 million URLs worldwide contain malware and Webroot reported that it found 3 million of those in 2006 alone.