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India: World’s No.1 Spot For Cybercriminals

|September 24 2010 |

India is the world’s number one zombie hotspot with a share of 13% followed by Brazil whose share in zombies dropped from 14% to 10%, according to the recent Internet threat trends released by Cyberoam.

A ‘zombie’ is the computer of any unsuspecting user that is being remotely manipulated by a third-party cyber-criminal or a hacker. A collection of such zombies, known as a ‘zombie army’ or a ‘botnet’, is used to cause DDoS attacks on targeted websites, relay e-mail spam, commit click frauds on search engines and phishing attacks on unsuspecting users. Financially-motivated criminals often use botnets to steal bank account information.

Says Abhilash Sonwane, vice president, product management, Cyberoam, “For quite some time, cyber-criminals have been eyeing India as the most attractive destination to launch targeted botnet attacks. This can be attributed to increasing Broadband availability among homes and businesses causing a rise in naïve/first-time Internet users who unsuspectingly click on malicious links or attachments in emails. The growing popularity of chat, music/video download and social networking sites is also to blame for the present problem.”

This quarter also saw an unprecedented rise in multi-stage blended attacks. In the first stage, malware authors prompted users to open an infected email using current events such as the recent Iceland volcano eruption episode or sending the email through a trusted source, e.g. asking for a Twitter password resetting. In the second stage, spammers redirected users to hosted content on reputable hosts such as Google Sites. The third stage leveraged social engineering to cause phishing incidents on banking sites.

In other stories, spam levels averaged 82% of all email traffic throughout the quarter, peaking at almost 92% near June. Pharmacy spam topics remained in the top spot. Pornographic and sexually explicit sites continued to rank highest in the categories infected with malware. Gmail.com held the top spot for spam-sending domains. Spam sites have also emerged as number 9 in global Web 2.0 content trends.

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