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
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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