Spyware accounted for 31 per cent of all infections recorded by ActiveScan in March, according to security expert Panda Software . Trojans were the second most frequent malware type at 25 per cent.

Both are widely used by cyber-crooks to achieve financial gain. Malware operates by compiling information about users' internet activity for various purposes, such as displaying personalised adverts.

"Spyware accounts for so many infections largely due to the way it spreads. Lately we have witnessed a notable increase in the number of exploits that use web pages to install adware," said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.

"Users do not even have to agree to the terms and conditions for installation of the malicious code, as before. Also, since users have not installed these codes knowingly, it is more difficult to detect them, and they remain on computers for longer."

Diallers were responsible for 5 per cent of infections, while backdoor Trojans and bots were the culprits in 4 per cent of cases. As as the trend, a large number are 'other types' of tinfections.

"This is just another example of how inaccurate it is to call all malicious code viruses, as malware is nowadays more diverse than ever. This category includes viruses as such, but also jokes, hacking tool, cookies," explains Corrons.

Despite the recent crackdown on internet threats, cybercriminals will continue to find new ways to make cash, as we reported earlier today .