Malware designed by cyber criminals for identity theft has risen by 600 percent since last year, says PandaLabs.

According to the security research firm, the economic downturn may be responsible for the surge, with hackers selling information such as credit card numbers and PayPal account passwords on the black market.

PandaLabs also revealed that on average it identifies 35,000 new security threats every day and 71 percent are Trojans designed to steal bank or credit card details, compared to just 51 percent in 2007.

The security firm estimates that three percent of web users have been the victim of malware designed to steal financial information and urges consumers to stay vigilant when receiving emails that may be from their bank or credit card company.

"If you have any suspicions don't enter your details and contact the corresponding bank, store or service provider that you are trying to access," the company said.

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