China now hosts the lion’s share of zombie botnet computers which are used to spread malware and launch phishing scams around the world.
The latest six-month Internet Security Threat Report released by Symantec reveals that the current internet threat environment is characterised by an increase in data theft, data leakage, and the creation of targeted malicious code for the purpose of stealing confidential information.
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Symantec said cyber criminals are continuing to refine their attack methods in an attempt to remain undetected, and to create global, cooperative networks to support the ongoing growth of criminal activity.
While the majority of attacks are still originating from the US, said Symantec, the largest amount of machines used to start many of them are located in China.
Symantec identified the countries with the highest amount of malicious activity originating from their networks. The US had the highest proportion of overall malicious activity, with 31%, and China was second, with 10%. Germany was third with 7%.
Symantec reported more than six million bot-infected computers worldwide during the second half of 2006, representing a 29% increase from the previous period.
While the US remained the number one rogue state in terms of cyber-crime activity, Symantec said 26% of all zombie computers were located in China, the highest total by far.
Trojans constituted 45% of the top 50 malicious code samples, representing a 23% increase over the first six months of 2006. This significant increase supports Symantec’s forecast from previous research, which noted that attackers appeared to be making a shift away from mass mailing worms toward using Trojans.
Symantec documented 12 zero-day vulnerabilities during the second half of 2006, marking a significant increase from the one zero-day vulnerability documented in the first half of 2006, increasing the exposure of consumers and businesses to unknown threats.
Over the last six months of 2006, Symantec detected a total of 166,248 unique phishing messages, an average of 904 per day, marking a 6% rise over the first six months of 2006.
Symantec: security attackers thrive on zero-day flaws
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