"We’ve never seen as many samples arrive to our labs", says Mikko Hypponen, Chief Research Officer at F-Secure Corporation. "We would be unable to handle such huge samples loads if we would not have built a high degree of automation into our malware analysis systems over the past years".

The report points out that no new forms of malware appeared during the year. It seems that network criminals chose to focus on improving the existing technologies, such as the "Storm Worm" botnet. The social engineering methods used by the botnet in the first half of the year was further developed in the second half of the year, the researchers stressed out.

Phishing sites continue to be a very popular scheme, but alternative methods of banking fraud have emerged as the public became more aware of the problem. Malware able to injecting itself directly into the browser application (Man-in-the-Browser attacks) leads the pack.

It appears that the 3rd edition software of Symbian S60 proved a real headache for virus developers. However, spy-tools are still able to find their way on the the phone’s OS by posing as "back-up" software.

As for 2008, F-Secures forecasts that the volume of malware will most likely increase and tagged the year as a “challenge of endurance.” The full report is available here.