Twelve million computers have been hijacked by cyber-criminals and detected by security vendor McAfree since January, the firm has said.

It reports there has been a 50% increase in the number of detected so-called “zombie” computers since 2008.

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As the Conficker worm has evidenced, with an estimated 10 million systems infected, the problem of criminally motivated malware infiltration and computer compromise is highly pervasive. The billion-dollar cyber crime economy is relatively under-policed. As a result, cyber criminals have become very aggressive in pushing the malware technology envelope. The latest exploits render traditional security solutions ineffective as cyber criminals capitalize on newly discovered vulnerabilities and leverage mainstream applications such as the Internet.

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