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London The PC Zombie capital

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Old September 19th 05, 05:32 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
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Posts: 27
Default London The PC Zombie capital

UK tops zombie PC chart (again)
Eng-Land of the Dead
By John Leyden
Published Monday 19th September 2005 09:59 GMT
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Britain is once again 'top of the bots' with the world's highest
proportion of known bot-infected computers. In the first half of 2005,
The UK has almost a third (32 per cent) of all bots - virus-infected,
zombie PCs under the control of hackers and used for malicious purposes
such as identity theft and spam distribution -. Britain also topped
the chart in the second half of last year with a lower 26 per cent

The statistics, taken from Symantec's Global Internet Threat Report
for the period January to June 2005, are based on the number of PCs
worldwide that are known to be infected with bot agents, such as the
infamous Agobot worm. Bot network activity has increased from below
5,000 bots per day in December 2004 to an average of 10,352 during this
reporting period.

Symantec reckons the likely cause of this rise is down to the rapid
growth in broadband subscriptions and the delayed download of software
patches for operating systems and software.

Bots (short for 'robots') are programs that are covertly installed
on a user's computer in order to allow unauthorised users to control
the infected computer remotely. Bot-infected computers are blamed for
the rapid growth in phishing, spam, denial of service (DoS) attacks and
other security risks such as spyware and adware. DoS attacks alone have
risen by 680 per cent over the first half of 2005 to reach an average
of 927 per day, according to Symantec.

Symantec Internet Security Threat report identifies shift toward
focused attacks on desktops to expose confidential data
Just a week prior to GITEX 2005, the Middle East and North Africa
operations of Symantec Corp today released its eighth volume of the
Internet Security Threat Report, one of the most comprehensive sources
of Internet threat data in the world.
United Arab Emirates: 8 hours, 1 minute ago

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The semiannual report, covering the six-month period from January 1 to
June 30, 2005, identified new methods of using malicious code for
financial gain with increasing frequency to target desktops rather than
enterprise perimeters.

The report also found a rise in the exposure of confidential
information. Such threats can result in significant financial loss,
particularly if credit card information or banking details are exposed.
Moreover, these concerns are more worrisome as online shopping and
Internet banking continue to increase in popularity, especially in the
Middle East where this marketplace has grown exponentially in the past
three years. During the first half of 2005, malicious code that exposed
confidential information represented 74 percent of the top 50 malicious
code samples reported to Symantec, up from 54 percent in the previous
six months.

Kevin Isaac, regional director Symantec Middle East North Africa,
commented, 'Previous reports have shown countries from around the
region registering a large number of threat alerts per Internet capita
head. Now we see 44% of attacks on EMEA sensors originating from the
UK. The significant finding from this report is a move away from
threats issued on a wider scale, towards targeted threats on specific
computers for the purposes of theft of financial data. Regional users
need to ensure that they are taking the right precautions when using
the World Wide Web for shopping or banking, such as ensuring a site is
secure before entering credit card details. Although our region may not
be a source of threats, the Internet has no boundaries and everyone is
equally at risk.'

During the five-day GITEX exhibition, Symantec's regional team will be
addressing with customers and partners some of the most critical
security issues facing Middle East-based businesses, many of which were
highlighted in the company's latest threat report. Symantec will
utilize GITEX to unveil its approach to delivering information
integrity to the region's businesses, and will demonstrate how
end-users can reduce the cost and complexity around securing their

Further findings in the report show that bot networks and custom bot
code were available for purchase or rent; Symantec observed an average
of 10,352 active bot network computers per day, an increase of more
than 140 percent from the previous reporting period's 4,348 bot
computers. Seven out of ten of the top cities in EMEA with the highest
percentage of bot-infected computers were in the UK - Symantec believes
that this is due to the rapid expansion of broadband connectivity in
that country, not balanced by awareness in the new users. As the
financial rewards increase, attackers will likely develop more
sophisticated and stealthier malicious code that will be implemented in
bot features and bot networks, some of which could attempt to disable
antivirus, firewalls, and other security measures.

Modular malicious code - malicious code that has limited functionality
initially but then downloads additional functionality once a system has
been infected - is also increasing. The shift toward modular malicious
code is significant as it indicates that attackers may be attempting to
avoid detection and attempting to compromise a system further by
opening back doors on an infected system or visiting Web sites where
further malicious code can be retrieved and placed on the target

The report also found that phishing attacks continue to proliferate.
The volume of phishing messages grew from an average of 2.99 million
messages a day to 5.70 million. One out of every 125 e-mail messages
scanned by Symantec Brightmail AntiSpam was a phishing attempt, an
increase of 100 percent from the last half of 2004. Symantec Brightmail
AntiSpam antifraud filters were blocking more than 40 million phishing
attempts per week on average, up from approximately 21 million per week
at the beginning of January.

Additional key findings include the following:
Symantec observed that denial-of-service attacks grew from an average
of 119 per day to 927 per day during the first half of 2005 - a 680
percent increase over the previous reporting period. The most
frequently targeted industry was education, followed by small business
and financial services.

The time between the disclosure of a vulnerability and the release of
associated exploit code decreased from 6.4 days to 6.0 days. In
addition, an average of 54 days elapsed between the appearance of a
vulnerability and the release of an associated patch by the affected
vendor. This means that, on average, 48 days elapsed between the
release of an exploit and the release of an associated patch; during
this time, systems are either vulnerable or administrators are forced
to create their own workarounds to protect against exploitation.

During the first half of 2005, Symantec documented 1,862 new
vulnerabilities - the highest number ever recorded in the Internet
Security Threat Report. Ninety-seven percent of these vulnerabilities
were classified as moderate or high in severity, and 59 percent of all
vulnerabilities were found in Web application technologies, marking an
increase of 59 percent over the previous reporting period and a 109
percent increase over the first six months of 2004.

A growing number of Win32 viruses and worm variants were also reported
during the first half of 2005. Symantec documented 10,866 new Win32
virus and worm variants, an increase of 48 percent over the previous
reporting period and 142 percent over the first half of 2004.

Adware, spyware, and spam continue to propogate, according to the
report. Eight of the top 10 adware programs were installed through Web
browsers. Of the top 10 adware programs reported, five hijacked
browsers. Six of the top 10 spyware programs were bundled with other
programs and six were installed through Web browsers. Symantec also
observed that spam made up 61 percent of all e-mail traffic and that 51
percent of all spam received worldwide originated in the United States.

An analysis of future and emerging trends concluded that an increase in
the number of attacks and threats directed at wireless networks is
likely. In addition, Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) threats are
expected to emerge as more enterprises merge their data and voice

Old September 19th 05, 11:13 PM posted to uk.telecom.broadband
NTL User
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Posts: 1
Default London The PC Zombie capital

In article .com,
UK tops zombie PC chart (again)


At least it proves that the UK is still good at some things G

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