Computer security firm McAfee has issued its latest Threat Report for the first quarter of 2009, in which they reveal some interesting figures about the growing number of botnets and current spam volumes. According to the company, unsolicited email activity still has not caught up to its level prior to the McColo takedown last November, but it has already recovered about 70 percent.
Spam as a total percentage of email volume is now at 86 percent, which is hardly great news but still down from an average of 90 percent in 2008 and the lowest level since 2006. Sadly, the U.S. continues to be the biggest distributor of spam, putting out 35 percent of the worlds junk and leaving Brazil as a distant second with 7.3 percent. To make matters worse, it also leads in infection levels with 18 percent of the world's zombie machines, up from 15.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, and surpassing China which now has 13.4 percent.
All in all, cybercriminals have hijacked 12 million new computers since January with an array of new malware. Interestingly, the Conficker worm, which grabbed mainstream media attention in recent weeks, is not a major factor in the bot infection count, with only about one percent of all virus detections in the first quarter of 2009.