Anti Virus software maker AVG Technologies has published the results of a research study which shows that, contrary to popular opinion, most malicious websites are hosted on US servers and not in other countries like China.

By monitoring active web servers serving exploits around the world, AVG found that 44 percent of the corrupted servers are hosted in the United States, followed by Germany and China at just 5 percent each.

The firm says that many of these malware-serving websites are actually legitimate sites which have been compromised by hackers. In total, exploitive servers were found in nearly 4,600 locations throughout the USA. Although many of these malicious sites are hosted in the U.S., AVG is unable to ascertain who owns or is directing the efforts of these servers since the hackers who compromised the machines could be from anywhere in the world.

“The results of this study shatter the myth that malicious code is primarily hosted in countries where e-crime laws are less developed,” said Karel Obluk, Chief Technology Officer, AVG Technologies. “Our research shows that malicious content is much more likely to show up on web servers in the U.S. than one in Asia or Eastern Europe. This makes perfect sense since the USA is a primary target market for the criminals and has rich and mature Internet infrastructure making the threats both highly accessible and cheap to host. What is most striking is the clear rise in the number of malicious servers in the last six months."

Obluk also noted that about 50 percent of the domains hosted on these servers were transient and often a threat for just one day or less.

The focus of many of these malware serving web sites is to steal personal information suchs as online banking credentials, credit card information, personal identities and passwords to social sites.”

The study is based on the analysis of threats reported during the last 6 months from the company's 110 million worldwide users of its LinkScanner web security product.

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