Study: Israel a hotbed of Internet attacks

Israel, Taiwan, Poland and the U.S. ranked highest for malware origination

Israel unfortunately is home to the most malicious Internet activity per Internet user, said Symantec's twice-yearly Internet Security Threat Report issued on Monday. The report covered the second half of 2006.

Symantec measured how much activity like spam origination, phishing site hosting and bot-infected computers could be attributed to an Internet user. From July through December, 9 percent of such activity traced back to Israel, followed by Taiwan with 8 percent, with Poland and the U.S. tied with 6.

Dave Cole, Director of the Symantec security response team, says it doesn't mean that viruses and phishing sites are necessarily created in Israel. A site or piece of malware could be created anywhere, but Israel is the unfortunate largest host per-capita to more than anywhere else.

Cole suggested Israel's "extremely high Internet penetration" might be the reason why, along with a large number of new Internet users who are more vulnerable to potential attack.

For overall numbers, the U.S. still has the most malicious activity at 31 percent. China was second with 10 percent.

Other interesting points from the report include:

* Three out of four attacks against Web browsers target Internet Explorer.

* IE had 92 new vulnerabilities, Mozilla 87.

* Microsoft took an average of 10 days to close security flaws, Mozilla 2.

* US-issued credit cards and debit card numbers were by far the most likely to be found for sale on the black market (86 percent).

* Phishers love soccer, too: Symantec saw a 40 percent spike in phishing messages sent out during the World Cup.

* Trojans are the malware most likely to make it onto a PC. 60 percent of attempted or cleaned infections (by Symantec) are Trojans.

For the full report, head to Symantec's site.

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Erik Larkin

PC World
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