South Korea for the first time topped PandaLabs’ quarterly ranking of countries with the highest number of infected computers. The nation’s PC infection rate stood at 57.3 percent for Q2, followed by China at almost 52 percent and Taiwan at 42 percent.
Other heavy hitters were Bolivia, Honduras, Turkey, Educador, Russian, Slovakia and Poland, according to a report from Spain-based Panda Security’s anti-malware laboratory. At the other end of the spectrum, the best protected countries were Switzerland (18.4 percent) and Sweden (19 percent). Norway, United Kingdom, Uruguary, Germany, Ireland, Findland, Hungary and Holland all fared well too with less than 25 percent of its PCs carrying malware.
“The list of least infected countries is dominated by some of the world’s most technologically advanced nations, with the sole exception of South Korea,” said Luis Corrons, technical director at PandaLabs, in a prepared statement. “Even though there may be other factors that influence these results, there seems to be a clear connection between technological development and malware infection rates.”
Other findings in the security company’s quarterly report: More than 6 million malware samples were generated, the vast majority – 76 percent – being Trojans. Worms accounted for almost 11 percent; viruses, only 7.4 percent. The remainder were adware or some other malicious code.
“It is interesting to note that worms have only caused 6 percent of infections despite accounting for almost 11 percent of all new malware,” Corrons said. “The figures corroborate what is well known: Massive worm epidemics have become a thing of the past and have been replaced by an increasing avalanche of banking Trojans and specimens such as the Police Virus.”
The report’s authors noted that particular malware continues to be a serious threat as it mutates into increasingly sophisticated code.
“Over this quarter, the Police Virus has continued to evolve, from scareware to ransomware. As if pretending to come from the local police was not enough, the malware went on to use ransomware techniques, ‘taking over’ infected computers by encrypting some of their content and forcing users to pay a fine or lose access. Basically, attackers took this functionality from the PGPCoder Trojan, a malicious code designed to encrypt files and keep them locked unless the victim agreed to pay a ransom.”