China continues to face severe botnet problem

China continues to face severe botnet problem
China continues to face severe botnet problem 

By Sumner Lemon
April 22, 2008 
IDG News Service

China continues to face a severe problem with botnets, networks of 
computers infected with software that allows them to be controlled 
remotely for denial-of-service attacks and to send spam, according to a 
report by China's National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical 
Team (CNCERT).

During 2007, 3.6 million Chinese computers were infected by software 
that allowed them to be controlled as part of a botnet, CNCERT said in a 
report published earlier this month. That report blamed lax computer 
security as a primary cause of the problem.

The 2007 number represents a big drop over the previous year. 
Approximately 10 million Chinese computers were bot-controlled in 2006, 
according to a previous CNCERT report.

CNCERT, which is under China's Ministry of Information Industry, put the 
total number of bot-controlled computers worldwide during 2007 at 6.2 

"That number is much more reasonable than some of the others that have 
been presented in the past year," said Jimmy Kuo, principal architect at 
Microsoft Corp.'s Malware Protection Center, noting the CNCERT estimate 
means roughly 1 in 200 computers around the world are bot-controlled.

However, the estimate shows Chinese computers are disproportionately 
affected by the problem, accounting for 58% of all bot-controlled 
computers around the world. Moreover, the CNCERT numbers imply that 4.6% 
-- nearly 1 in 20 -- of the 78 million Chinese computers capable of 
accessing the Internet and in use at the end of 2007 were 
bot-controlled, based on a survey (pdf format) by the China Internet 
Network Information Center.

While bot-controlled computers are an unusually large problem in China, 
many of these botnets also appeared to be controlled by bots inside the 

CNCERT found 17,063 bots during 2007, of which 10,399 were located 
outside China, leaving 6,664 bots that appear to be inside China, 
although this point was not specifically addressed in the report.

Of the 10,399 bots located outside China, 32%, or 3,328 bots, were 
located in the U.S. The next largest source of bots was Taiwan, which 
accounted for 13%, or 1,352 bots.

Robert McMillan, of the IDG News Service in San Francisco, contributed 
to this report.

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