Number of bot-infected devices climbs to 6.7m globally

A report by Norton by Symantec put the global bot figure at 6.7m, and out of this about one fifth of the malicious bots are located in Europe.

The report specifically mentioned that London, Maidenhead, and Manchester are leading cities in the UK that fuel botnet attacks. However, the three cities are not among the top 10 European cities. The UK does not feature in the Top 10 countries in Europe that enable bot attacks. The distinction for this goes to Russia, top of the list for the most bots in the world. These make up about three per cent of the world’s bots.

The report states that Madrid has the most bot-infected devices in Europe, around 4.64 per cent. Second place goes to Istanbul, followed by Moscow and then Utrecht.

Mirai botnet perpetrated havoc after it infiltrated Dyn, the DNS services provider, in October 2016. As a result, the devices ended up transforming into botnets that were controlled remotely and this lead to DDoS attacks, spreading malware and committing several other online crimes.

The Symantec report reveals that bot infections are growing on a daily basis, but what is worrying is that these bots appear to have a longer lifespan. In 2016, bots had a lifespan of 51 days, which was much longer than the eight day expectancy in 2015.

With people shifting to internet of things (IoT) devices, bots appear to be targeting them more often than other devices. Symantec’s report stated that these devices get attacked within two minutes of connecting to the internet. This brings to the forefront how cyber criminals are using IoT devices to spur botnets.

Candid Wueest, a Norton cyber security expert, stated that in 2016, 689 million people fell victim to online cyber crime, and most cyber attacks took place with the help of botnets and bots. She pointed out that cyber criminals are not just limiting themselves to computer — they are also using smartphones and IoT devices to perpetrate online crime and fraud.


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