Malware levels have risen threefold in the past year, according to security firm McAfee.
The company observed more than 1.2 million new malware samples over the first six months of 2009, or roughly 6,000 every day.
By comparison, McAfee logged just over 400,000 pieces of malware in the first half of 2008, and fewer than 300,000 in the whole of 2007.
Dave Marcus, director of research and communication at McAfee Avert Labs, said in a blog post that the increase is a by-product of the explosion in cybercrime over recent years.
"There are many reasons why malware continues to grow, but it is mainly a criminal's game at this point," he said. "The tools and code are readily available, and that will certainly not change. But it is also definitely not doomsday."
The huge increase in malware has also forced security firms to change the way they handle new threats.
In an effort to keep up with the flood, many vendors have begun to phase out the use of daily signature updates in favour of web-based networks, which allow companies to report new threats and distribute protective measures to customers throughout the day.