US Has Most Botnet-infected PC’s

A report has found that the U.S. is the number one country consumed with botnet PCs.

The study, which was performed by Microsoft, said over 2.2. million PCs in the U.S. were found to be part of botnets in the first six months of 2010.  Brazil came in second place with 550,000 botnets.

The research found that 14.6 out of every 100 machines in South Korea were botnets.

Cliff Evans, head of security and identity at Microsoft U.K., said the research was done to alert people of the growing threat of botnets.

“Most people have this idea of a virus and how it used to announce itself,” he told BBC. “Few people know about botnets.”

Cyber criminals use botnets in order find information that can be sold on underground auction sites and markets found online.

“Once they have control of the machine they have the potential to put any kind of malicious code on there,” said Evans. “It becomes a distributed computing resource they then sell on to others.”

The study found that a bonnet known as Lethic sent out 56 percent of all bonnet spam between March and June even though it was only on 8.3 percent of all known botnet IP addresses.

“It’s phenomenal the amount of grip that thing has,” said Mr Evans.

In three months between April and June 2010, Microsoft cleaned up over 6.5 million infections, which is twice as much as the same time period in 2009.

There were 600 million PCs that use Microsoft’s various update services or use its Essentials and Defender security package that were enrolled in the study.

Evans told BBC that defending against malware was a straightforward battle.

He said people should use automatic updates, as well as make sure they regularly use anti-virus software and run a firewall.

Microsoft has just issued its largest list of fixes for flaws in Windows, Internet Explorer and a range of other software.

The update includes security patches for 49 vulnerabilities.

“With the significant number of holes identified on the same day, businesses will be racing against time to fix them all,” Alan Bentley, senior vice president at security firm Lumension, told BBC.

“Not only is this Microsoft’s largest patch load on record, but 23 of the vulnerabilities are rated at the most severe level,” he added.

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