10 Nations Facing the Most Pervasive Threats From Malware, Botnets
In 2010, Microsoft's chief security strategist Scott Charney called for the private sector and government to treat cyber-crime and other online security problems as issues of Internet health. Calling for a collective defense approach based on the collaboration between public-health organizations, Charney called for Internet service providers and nations to consider quarantining machines with digital infections to safeguard other users. A look at the latest report from antivirus firm Sophos underscores the dangers of not treating Internet security at a national level. In its year-end report, Sophos found that users in southeast Asia were living in the equivalent of a digital hot zone. Using a measure called the threat-exposure rating (TER), the company tracked the probability that a user's computer would encounter a malicious infection attempt in a particular three-month period. Eight of the 10 riskiest nations were in southeast Asia with one country from the Middle East and another from central America rounding out the bottom 10. Many of the threats that impact those nations take advantage of older vulnerabilities, says Richard Wang, manager of Sophos' research labs. "That is a pretty strong indication that there are a lot of PCs out there that are not being protected by updates or any form of security software," he said.
About one in nine users in Hong Kong, a special administrative region (SAR) of the People's Republic of China, encounter a malware infection attempt every quarter. Hong Kong has had its share of cyber-crime in the past: Antivirus firm Kaspersky put the country at the 19th most common source of browser-based malware in 2010.