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U.S. is home to greatest number of botnet servers, says McAfee

With 631 active command and control servers, the U.S. far surpasses any other country when it comes to malware-controlled zombie computers, says the antivirus vendor.

The United States is responsible for the highest number of botnet servers in the world, according to new data from McAfee.

A map and a list of major countries posted by McAfee yesterday show the greatest concentration of botnet servers to be in the U.S., with 631. That's more than two and a half times higher than the second country on the list -- the British Virgin Islands with 237.

The Netherlands took third place with 154 servers, followed by Russia with 125, Germany with 95, and Korea with 81. Among the Top 10, Canada fared the best with only 38 servers listed.

A botnet describes a group of computers that have been compromised by malware. As such, these computers, or zombies, can be controlled by cybercriminals to send out spam, viruses, and even distributed denial-of-service attacks to other computers. The criminals use command and control, or C&C, servers to issue commands to the unsuspecting computers in the botnet.

McAfee's list may not be totally accurate, though, since the bad guys can spoof the location of a C&C server to make it seem as if it's in a different country. Regardless of the rankings, botnets represent one of the most serious security threats on the Internet as they can potentially affect millions of computers.

Botnet servers around the world.
Botnet servers around the world. McAfee

Law enforcement officials have strived to put more botnet creators behind bars.

Last year saw the arrest and sentencing of one hacker who had turned 72,000 computers into zombies. In May, the creator of the infamous Bredolab botnet received a four-year prison sentence. In December, Facebook helped the FBI to take down a gang that created a botnet out of 11 million infected computers.

But the cybercriminals keep stepping up their game by unleashing more malware. Last September, a McAfee report found malware growing at a faster pace than at any other time over the past four years.

(Via The Next Web)