Worms, once responsible for some of the worst virus epidemics in history, are now on the decline and are gradually fading into the background as hackers are looking to make money instead.
Figures compiled by web security outfit PandaLabs reveal that worms have been outnumbered by more threatening malicious code such as adware or Trojans, which currently make up a combined 49% of all detected infections.
In its latest malware audit for October, PandaLabs says worms scored only 8.31%, having gradually weakened from 18.14% in November 2006 and 12.11% in January 2007.
Adware and Trojans have kept their high corruption rate and now make up an infection score of 25.97% and 23.37% respectively.
Although worms have advanced in terms of their sophistication, their prime focus remains the same. They continue to create havoc and panic but are usually motivated by nothing more than pure hate, said PandaLabs.
Dominic Hoskins, Panda Security UK, said, "Having computers brought to a standstill turns into significant financial losses, but in fact this type of activity is no longer considered attractive and hugely beneficial by malware creators."
Notoriety has now been completely played down by financial gain, he said. "In effect, the sole purpose of creating new malware is now financially led through the theft of sensitive and confidential information," said Hoskins.
Worms infection rate:
October 2007: 8.31%
September 2007: 8.39%
August 2007: 8.23%
July 2007: 8.30%
June 2007: 8.71%
May 2007: 9.46%
April 2007: 8%
March 2007: 6%
February 2007: 6%
January 2007: 12.11%
December 2006: 16.16 %
November 2006: 18.14%