The UK has around one-third of the world’s one to two million infected “bot” computers, which help to relay viruses, spam and other malware across the globe.
Security software company Symantec has estimated the extent of the UK’s bot presence in its latest internet security threat report, and says London has 8% of the world’s infected bot computers.
Surprisingly, the Cheshire town of Winsford is said to contain 5% of the world’s bot total, even though its population is only just over 30,000.
In fact, Winsford has more bots than internet technology hotbed Seoul in South Korea, which has 4% of the world’s bots.
Bots are “slave” computers infected with malicious relay capabilities without the knowledge of their owners. Infection rates are usually dictated by the advanced nature of the communications infrastructure used to carry traffic and the size of a region’s population.
As London and Seoul now have advanced broadband infrastructures and high numbers of broadband users, their prominence in the Symantec infection lists is no surprise.
But Winsford’s listing is more of puzzling.
The town started life as a centre for salt mining, then became a centre for chemical processing, but in the early 1980s computer peripherals industries entered the area, which may be one reason for its high bot infection rate.