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Malware Attacks on Canadians Increased in 2007

According to anti-virus software vendor, Symantec Inc, customers of Bell Canada, the largest ISP in Canada, got infected as a result of 17% of the malware activity including spam, viruses and other malicious code that were traced to Canada during the second semester of 2007.

Authorities at Symantec said that it is nothing astonishing that Bell's customers are subject to the maximum portion of undesirable or malicious activity.

In 2007, Symantec had identified an overwhelming 711,912 new pieces of malware on the Internet, up from 125,243 in 2006. The company labeled Canada as the ninth country to host malicious activity although far behind the US occupying the first spot.

About 16% of malicious traffic on Canada's Internet traveled across the network of Shaw Communications Inc. Thus, The network became the second worst carrier of malicious code in 2007. Symantec also detected other Canadian ISPs that carried malware among which Cogeco and Canaca-Com Inc. each circulated for 8% of the entire harmful Internet traffic in Canada.

Symantec also indicated that 5% of harmful activity happened on another network of Crown corporation SaskTel. Similarly, 3% traveled through each network of Rogers Communications, Peer On and Primus while 2% traveled across the network of iwebtechnologies.

However, Calgary-based Director, Dean Turner, Symantec's Global Intelligence Network, acknowledged that controlling the influx of malicious scripts, viruses and other malware is a difficult task, as reported by AssociatedPress on April 8, 2008.

Attackers targeted a lot of the malware at individual end-users, who are presently more vulnerable compared to company networks. Such malware activity is devised to exploit users' online behavior, sometimes through phishing attacks that try to trick users into disclosing their financial information, and sometimes through bot attacks.

In bot attacks, where spam is disseminated, different kinds of automated jobs are performed usually for cyber criminals who are usually located at a distance place from their victims.

Therefore, Turner indicated that users themselves have to be accountable for their Internet activity while Symantec officials suggested that users should ensure their security software is regularly updated as the only solution to ward off cyber attackers.

Related article: Malware Authors Turn More Insidious

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