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Bots and botnets spread worldwide by unaware users

(Image credit: Image Credit: Helloquence / Unsplash)

Just a year after the Mirai malware infected connected devices to create the first IoT botnet, new research from Norton shows that global botnets have continued to grow and spread as a result of unaware users inadvertently infecting others.  

According to Norton, the top three countries responsible for hosting the highest number of bots in Europe are Germany at just over eight per cent, Italy at 10 percent and Russia at almost 14 per cent. 

The UK was Europe's 11th highest source of bot infections - which is down from 2015 when it was ranked 7th.   

In terms of specific cities, Madrid in Spain was ranked as having the highest amount of bots, followed by Istanbul and Moscow.

(Image credit: Norton)

In the UK, London was the highest source of bot infections, accounting for 34 per cent of all British bots, followed by Manchester at almost 19 per cent. 

Norton security expert Candid Wueest highlighted the ways in which bots are contributing to increased cyber crime in the UK and worldwide, saying: 

“More than 13.8 million people in the UK were victims of online crime in the past year, and bots and botnets are a key tool in the cyber attacker's arsenal.  It's not just computers that are providing criminals with their robot army; in 2016, we saw cyber criminals making increasing use of smartphones and Internet of Things (IoT) devices to strengthen their botnet ranks.  Servers also offer a much larger bandwidth capacity for a DDoS attack than traditional consumer PCs.” 

To protect your organisation and devices against malicious bots, Norton recommends installing security software and firewalls, never ignoring system updates, avoiding file attachments within emails from unverified sources, using a long and complex password, enabling two factor authorisation, increasing your overall security settings and making sure to remember to log out when your session is over. 

Image Credit: Helloquence / Unsplash

Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.