China is presently the largest distributor of malware, according to a new report released by Symantec. The U.S. is the leading malware distributor based on mail servers followed by China and Romania, with over 36 percent being distributed from U.S. based servers.
However, a more in-depth look revealed that the users sending the malware are based in China. The report studied the ISP address of the user and found that over 28 percent of malware was distributed by Chinese based users. The United States came in third, being responsible for 13.8 percent of malware distribution.
“When considering the true location of the sender rather than the location of the email server, fewer attacks are actually sent from North America than it would at first seem,” Paul Wood, a senior analyst at Symantec’s MessageLabs Intelligence, said in a statement last week. “A large proportion of targeted attacks are sent from legitimate webmail accounts which are located in the US and therefore, the IP address of the sending mail server is not a useful indicator of the true origin of the attack.”
The report also found that malware is targeting specific positions, such as director and vice president. The largest number of attacks are against individuals involved in foreign trade or national security.
The report is available here