More than 10 million new pieces of malware were recorded in the second half of 2010 by one of the companies participating in the international reporting efforts of the APWG.

Meanwhile, attacks have evolved to a new level, with some now taking the form of several components that arrive in an infected machine at different times before acting together as one malicious code to break into consumer banking accounts and make illicit transfers or bogus bill payments, the anti-phishing and online security coalition said.

Still, “55% of the new samples created in the second half of 2010 were Trojans, the favorite weapon used by cybercriminals to infect consumers’ computers,” said Louis Corrons, technical director at PandaLabs and a contributor to the trade group’s just released H2 2010 Phishing Activity Trends Report.

Corrons’ company reported more than 10.4 million new malware samples in the last six months of last year, representing 17% of all samples PandaLabs has recorded since 1990, he said.

The APWG also noted an increase in spear-phishing–highly individualized attacks on insiders at companies and government agencies–and blamed that tactic for some of the mostly costly hack attacks reported so far.

“These emails usually evade spam and anti-virus filters, and are very effective at infecting a user’s computer,” said Dave Jevans, APWG chairman. “This trend is accelerating in 2011, and is responsible for many high-profile corporate data breaches.” 

The APWG is a coalition of security, financial services and government organizations founded in 2003 as the Anti-Phishing Working Group.