Symantec Names Brazil as Eighth-largest Global Source of Malicious Botnet Activity

Symantec's new study highlights the fact that cybercriminals are becoming increasingly more organized and trying hard to stay one-step ahead of security agencies.

Security software provider Symantec has found that Brazil is the eighth-largest global source of malicious botnet activity, according to the firm’s Internet Security Threat Report 2015.

The country is home to 2% of the world’s bots, which are defined as private computers infected with malicious software and controlled as a group without the owners’ knowledge.

Globally, China was the origin of much more bot activity in 2015, seeing a sharp rise of 84% in bot-related activity over the previous year. In contrast, bot activity in the US has dropped 67% since 2014.

Although cybercrime is also a problem in Mexico, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Panama, the report shows that the threat rate is declining in several countries. Successful law enforcement activity against cybercriminals and heightened cybersecurity awareness are both contributing factors to the decline of bots.

However, a similar study by BitSight Technologies stated that Brazil and the US are finding it difficult to prevent and mitigate machine compromises stemming from botnet infections. BitSight also said it found Brazilian companies underperforming on metrics such as machine compromise rates, email security and file-sharing practices.

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Nearly 430 million new malware variants were discovered in 2015, up 36% from the previous year, suggesting that cybercriminals around the world are becoming increasingly more organized and trying hard to stay one step ahead of security agencies.

“Advanced criminal attack groups now echo the skill sets of nation-state attackers. They have extensive resources and a highly-skilled technical staff that operate with such efficiency that they maintain normal business hours and even take the weekends and holidays off,” said Kevin Haley, Director, Symantec Security Response.

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