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US Generated Most Spam; China Most Malware

2006 again saw United States leading the world in producing spam and hosting malware, said a security vendor on Monday. But China topped as the nation that created the maximum malicious code same year.

According to the Security Threat Report 2007 of security vendor Sophos, criminal activity plagues the U.S. Internet industry despite all its efforts to thwart cyber crime.

From the study of a malware sample last year the report found that United States hosts 34.2% of the malicious sample, with China following closely by 31%, Russia by 9.5%, the Netherlands by 4.7% and Ukraine by 3.2%. All these countries also contributed to the increasing number of hacker-accessed websites to infect browsers. UK-based websites hosted 0.5% of all malicious websites and the country occupied the nineteenth position in the rankings.

U.S. topped the chart of spam-relaying countries with 22% spam rate. China and Hong Kong came third with 7.4% and Germany ninth with 3% of reported spam.

The U.S. Internet market is unmistakably a place for online criminal activity. A growing number of organizations with Web sites hosted in U.S. are falling prey to hackers' attacks, said Ron O'Brien, senior security analyst for Sophos in a company press release of January 22, 2007.

The report revealed that remotely controlled PCs generated 90% of spam globally through malicious software such as Trojan Horses. These PCs are not necessarily in the same country as the ones compromised for sending out spam. The most prevalent worms - Mytob, Netsky, Zafi and Sober together make 75% of all infected e-mails.

Malware developers based in Brazil circulate 14% of the malware laden traffic. Most of these e-mails aim to steal sensitive data from online banking users.

Malware writers will continue to use e-mail as an important device although a large adoption of security at e-mail gateways are turning hackers to other tools for spreading infection.

Online criminals are resorting to fresh ways of distributing malicious code and the Web seems to be a sure place where various applications and social networking sites host active end users, reflected O'Brien.

Related article: US Passes Baton to Asia in Spam Relay

» SPAMfighter News - 1/25/2007

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