Some half a million computers are infected by bots every day, according to data compiled by PandaLabs in its annual report on malware activity in 2007.
Approximately 11 percent of computers worldwide have become a part of criminal botnets, which are responsible for 85 percent of all spam sent.
Creators of botnets, known also as “bot herders” rent out such networks to the highest bidder. These are used then for downloading malware onto infected computers, causing denial of services, or most frequently sending spam.
According to the report, spam was one of the major threats during 2007. In fact, more than 50 percent of email received by home users was spam, while the percentage in corporate environments ran at between 80 to 95 percent.
PandaLabs estimates that it would take around 2,000 terabytes of disk space to store the total volume of spam sent in one day.
Dominic Hoskins, Panda UK, said: “It is important that Senior IT professionals, Risk Managers and eCommerce Managers are aware of the latest dangers that bots pose. Panda Security is hosting a specialist Security Seminar on the 25th January at the London Stock Exchange that will deliver a detailed assessment of the evolving threat landscape and the impact of malware on business today. The seminar will be an opportunity to learn how to address dangers posed by botnets and types of bots that cybercrooks use to operate as agents for a user or another program to simulate human activity.”
The report further points out that the subject matter and origin of most junk mail is varied. Sexual health was the most popular theme during the first quarter of 2007, accounting for 54 percent of all spam detected. In the second and third quarters, pharmaceuticals topped the list, with 45 percent and 30 percent respectively.
Russia topped the list of most notorious spam senders with 60 percent of all spam detected, while USA came second with 23 percent. Turkey (6 percent), Germany (4.7 percent) and the UK (3 percent) are among other countries from which a significant amount of spam is sent.