PandaLabs, the anti-malware laboratory of Panda Security identified record 25m new strains of malware in 2009.
This is 10m more than the company has recorded in the past 20 years and includes a large number of new examples of banker Trojans, making up 66% of the total.
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This reflects a strong trend identified by most security suppliers towards malware used to steal personal details for use in financial fraud.
Spam was also a major problem, making up 92% of all email traffic, according to the 2009 annual malware reportfrom PandaLabs.
The automotive, electrical and government sectors were the hardest hit by spam, representing around 99% of all emails received.
This means just 0.11% of email received by companies in the motor industry was legitimate, 0.22% for the electrical industry and 0.4% for government.
Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Digg were the most popular channels for malware distribution, the report said.
2009 saw a rise in the number of news stories related to cyber-attacks with political motives or targets, which the report said suggests this is becoming a reality.
PandaLabs predicts that the amount of malware in circulation will continue to grow during 2010, with Windows 7 attracting the interest of cybercriminals.