Last year, PandaLabs received more malware than in the previous 15 years combined. It now receives up to 1,500 unique examples of new malware every day. This is the background to a new awareness campaign launched by Panda Software , urging people to download scanning tools in order to stay safe online.

Panda Software's ' Infected or Not? ' campaign currently flags up two tools, Panda NanoScan, and Panda TotalScan, both due for release in May. The scanning tools, containing some of the latest 'mega-detection technologies', are already available from Panda's website.

Panda NanoScan is a rapid scanner that currently detects over 750,000 active viruses, spyware, Trojans and other malware within just one minute, according to the company. TotalScan is a comprehensive scanner that can detect over 819,000 active and latent malware threats. A scan takes between five minutes and an hour depending on the user's scanning preference.

Users who are not currently using Panda anti-virus and internet security suites can download the scanning tools from www.infectedornot.com . The software will run alongside any existing protection security application(s).

Looking at the statistics available on the Infected or Not? website, it seems that over the 24-hour period up to the time of writing, 68.24 per cent of PCs without installed anti-virus software that were scanned by Panda Labs were infected with malware. That figure dropped to 49.01 per cent amongst the PCs with antivirus software installed.

Mark Watkinson at Panda Software said: "These new mega-detection scanning tools represent a significant leap forward for combating the problem of malware. They are freely available and will alert PC users to the very real threat of malware. The statistics do not lie, even with popular anti-virus packages installed, PC users are not guaranteed to remain protected against new and innovative malware.

"There is no cost for using www.infectedornot.com and after the beta campaign we will be making both Panda NanoScan, and Panda TotalScan fully available online on the Panda website. Just don't be surprised if it finds malware!"