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Symantec reports more than 75 percent drop in malicious web sites


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SECURITY OUTFIT Symantec has released its January intelligence report, which shows a 77.4 per cent decline in the number of malicious web sites.

It said that 2,102 web sites per day were seen to be harbouring malware this month, a big drop from December 2011. While malicious web sites have decreased in number, attacks including spam and phishing have risen.

Symantec said, "As detection for web-based malware increases, the number of new web sites blocked decreases and the proportion of new malware begins to rise, but initially on fewer web sites."

The report shows that the UK is the biggest source of phishing attacks, accounting for 65.2 per cent. The US came in second with a comparatively small 13 per cent. The UK is also high in the list of targets for these types of attacks, in second place behind the Netherlands.

Symantec said one in 179 emails contained a phishing attack. Blighty also came in second for emails containing malware, with one in every 169, and the Netherlands was again the most targeted.

Spammers have apparently been taking advantage of major holidays and events to make attacks more interesting and tempting, something that the firm thinks will be particularly used this year.

Paul Wood, senior intelligence analyst at Symantec said, "We also expect to see plenty of spam and malware taking advantage of some of the major upcoming sporting events this year. We are already seeing references to the Summer Olympics in London as part of 419 or advance fee fraud messages."

The firm recently warned its PCanywhere users to avoid using the software because it is vulnerable to attack. Earlier, cybercriminals managed to get hold of the source code for some of Symantec's products, which the company then claimed was out of date and posed no threat.

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