US number one in phishing sites, malicious IP addresses in 2015

Webroot Annual Threat Report finds declines for Russia, China

Phishing sites and malicious IP addresses were hosted in the U.S. more than any other country in 2015, research from Webroot announced Tuesday.

According to the yearly Webroot Threat Brief, the U.S. held 56 percent of phishing sites. This is actually a decrease from 2014 (75 percent) but is still no cause for celebration.

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“This number is over 10 times the phishing site count for any other country,” the report says. “The year-to-year decline in the percentage for the U.S. likely indicates increased interest in phishing attacks against other countries, rather than decreased interest in U.S.-based phishing.”

The U.S. also saw the creation of 100,000 net new malicious IP addresses per day last year, compared to 85,000 per day in 2014. It surpassed the other countries hosting 75 percent of malicious IPs – China, Japan, Germany and the UK – for the biggest chunk of the pie at 40 percent (up from 31 percent in 2014).

Meanwhile, China and Russia both saw dramatic decreases from the previous year (from 23 percent to less than 10 percent and 10 percent to one percent, respectively).

“This enormous share in malicious IP addresses is unsurprising, given that the U.S. is typically the primary focus for attacks,” the report says. “The most likely explanation for these changes is that attacks originating in countries such as China and Russia have had less success than those from countries such as the U.S. and Japan and that attacks that appear to victims to be locally hosted are more likely to succeed.”

In terms of malicious URLs, Webroot found the U.S. hosted 30 percent of them last year. The vendor attributed the high percentage to cyber criminals in high-risk countries looking to avoid geo-filtering services’ automatic blocking.

“2015 was yet another record year for cyber crime, during which more malware, malicious IPs, websites and mobile apps were discovered than in any previous year,” Hal Lonas, Webroot CTO, said in a statement.

“It comes as no surprise to those of us in the internet security industry that the cyber crime ecosystem continues to thrive, given new innovations and little in the way of risk for those who choose to participate. The continued onslaught of hacks, breaches and social engineering scams targeting individuals, businesses and government agencies alike has caused many in the security field to ask if it’s truly possible to defend against a persistent attacker.

“We conclude that we can only succeed by being more innovative than our criminal opponents.”


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