The number of new pieces of malware spiked in the first quarter of this year, and the majority of the new threats are being embedded in malicious Web sites.According to a study from Sophos, an antivirus and anti-spam company, researchers discovered 23,864 new threats in the first three months of 2007. That’s more than double the number of new malware identified in the same period last year, when Sophos discovered 9,450.

While the number of malware is increasing, where it’s being found is changing.

Historically, malware has plagued e-mail, hidden in malicious attachments. While that’s still happening, more virus writers are putting their efforts into malicious Web sites.

Sophos noted that the percentage of infected e-mail has dropped from 1.3%, or one in 77 e-mails in the first three months of 2006, to one in 256, or just 0.4% in this year’s first quarter.

In the same time period, Sophos identified an average of 5,000 new infected Web pages every day. With computer users becoming more aware of how to protect against e-mail-based malware, hackers have turned to the Web as their preferred vector of attack.

continued @ InformationWeek