THE US and China host nearly two-thirds of spam, viruses and other computer security threats delivered around the world in 2006. Computer security firm Sophos said 34.2 per cent of the so-called malware last year originated from the United States, with 31 per cent from China. Russia was third, accounting for 9.5 per cent of the threats. "The enormous number of computers based in North America probably makes it no surprise that the US heads the list, and is hosting over a third of all websites containing malicious code," the report said. Sophos said it identified 207,684 different threats, ranging from spam, viruses and trojans, to "ransomware" designed to "kidnap" data by encrypting it, and provide the password once a ransom has been paid.
The report said 90 per cent of all spam is now relayed from "zombie computers" infected with some kind of malicious code. Sophos said its "dirty dozen" list of worst spam-relaying nations was again headed by the United States, accounting 22 per cent of the spam sent worldwide. China was second with 15.9 per cent, followed by South Korea (7.4 per cent), France (5.4 per cent), Spain (5.1 per cent), Poland (4.5 per cent), Brazil (3.5 per cent), Italy (3.2 per cent), Germany (3.0 per cent), Britain (1.9 per cent) and Russia and Taiwan (each with 1.8 per cent).