Figures from web security firm Sophos show that the number of new pieces of malicious software have more than doubled in Q1 2007 compared to the same period in 2006.

In Q1 2007, Sophos identified 23,864 new malware threats, compared to 9,450 in Q1 2006. On a more positive note, the percentage of infected email has dropped from 1.3% in Q1 2006, to just 0.4 this year.

Infected websites

The report also identified the growing threat posed by infected websites. Most websites hosting malware are not created by hackers themselves, but are legitimate websites which have been compromised.

Sophos estimates that 70% of infected websites were legitimate websites that were vulnerable to attack, either because they were poorly coded or not maintained by their owners.

Countries hosting malicious websites

The UK has entered this chart for the first time at number six, with this country hosting 3% of infected websites, while there has been a massive increase in the number of malware sites hosted in China. 

    1. China - 41.1%

    2. United States – 29.2%

    3. Russia - 4.6%

    4. Germany – 4.6%

    5. Ukraine – 3.9%

Polish Spam

Spam has increased again – the amount of spam relayed in Q1 2007 has increased by 4.2% over the first three months of 2006. The UK dropped out of the top twelve spam-relaying countries, while Poland has climbed up the spam league.

Poland has taken the number three slot, and is responsible for 7.4% of the world’s spam. One Polish ISP, Polish Telecom, was responsible for 1 in 20 spam messages sent worldwide between January and March this year.