According to Symantec, over half of all the viruses and malware ever discovered, were discovered last year. The first computer virus was written and released on ARPANET in 1971. So from then until 2008 — 37 years — saw less malicious activity than in a single year, 2009.
And I’d wager that with massive botnets now common, malware isn’t just increasing astronomically in the number of attacks, but in the effectiveness of those attacks.
Which leaves the question: Who controls the botnets, and how much of their activity is directly (or indirectly) controlled by governments?