A Global View of Malware Threats: Which Countries Spread Them and Which Countries are Victimized?

by Christopher on March 11, 2011

In 2010, internet security firm Kaspersky Lab recorded 580.3 million browser-based malware attacks. As malware threats continue to rise, attacks made via vulnerabilities in web browsers and the programs that run with them, such as PDF readers and media players, are the leading avenue of infection. Approximately one in three malware attacks are committed in this manner.

Of these 580 million malware assaults, 90 percent originated from only 20 countries. More than one-quarter of them–137,487,939, to be exact–came from the United States, cites Kaspersky Lab. Russia accounted for just over 15 percent, sending 80 million malware attacks, and China, accounting for more than 13 percent, followed closely with 69.2 million attacks.

The Netherlands and Germany complete the top five countries responsible for browser-based malware attacks, accounting for 35.2 and 31.5 million, respectively. Spain, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Latvia finish out the top 10, originating 84.4 million threats between them. France took the eleventh position with 9 million attacks, followed by Canada, the Virgin Islands, Poland, Moldova, the Philippines, Turkey, Vietnam, and Hong Kong. Lastly, Australia was the twentieth most common source of browser-based malware attacks, accounting for 1.9 million, or 0.36 percent, in 2010.

There is not necessarily as much correlation between the top 20 countries that originate browser-based malware threats and those that are victimized by them as you might expect. The top three, however, are the same on both lists, though ordered a bit differently. Of the 580.3 million such incidents, 82 percent were targeted at only 20 different nations, reports Kaspersky Lab.

China was the most victimized country, receiving a little more than 19 percent of all browser-based malware attacks. Russia comes in second place on this list as well, having been targeted by 17.5 percent of the attacks in 2010. The United States fell third, receiving 10.5 percent of these types of malware threats.

Computers in India were the fourth most commonly targeted, while those in Germany were fifth most likely to receive malware transmissions. Between them, they accounted for 8.7 percent of attacks. In descending order, Ukraine, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy complete the top 10 list. The countries on the latter half of the top 20 list received only 14.5 percent of all browser-based malware attacks collectively. They were Spain, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Turkey, Brazil, Mexico, Canada, Thailand, Poland, and Egypt.

These lists indicate just how global the various cybercrimes involving malware propagation have become. While we in the United States are often led to believe there is relatively little threat to our personal and professional computers and networks, and that the cybercriminals responsible for malware threats are located far from our own turf, this is clearly not the case. With the United States topping both the list of countries most commonly initiating malware attacks and the list of countries most victimized by them, we must prioritize protecting our computers from the numerous types of browser-based malware threats.


Posted in: Malware

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