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US ranked as world malware hotspot

Computer users in the United States using Microsoft Windows are the most likely to have some form of malware on their computer, judging by statistics released by Microsoft.

A malicious software removal tool from the software giant has removed malware from a staggering 2.2m PC’s in the USA in August, more than the other nine top countries combined.

A total of 8,750,628 potential threats have been removed by the tool from 2,183,166 infected machines last month, equivalent to just over four individual threats per PC running the Microsoft malware removal tool.

By comparison, second-place in the report was China, with 1,085,140 threats removed from just 383,378 machines, equivalent to 2.83 threats per PC. In total, countries ranked 2nd to 10th in the report recorded an aggregate of 1,874,174 infected PCs.

Unsurprisingly, English speaking countries had amongst the highest threats-to-machines ratio, with computers in the UK having an average of 3.88 malware threats and computers in Canada having an average of 3.62 threats. Mexico was also high in this regard, with 3.8 threats per PC.

“The US is at the top of this list as it is by default the top target for most of the malicious code out there,” Marian Radu and Scott Wu, two members of the Microsoft Malware Protection Center wrote on the company’s blog. “China and Brazil are actually a totally different story. While China is a top target for online games password stealers and the black market associated with it, Brazil is a prime goal for another breed of password stealers: those targeting bank accounts. Given these locations, it should come as no surprise that the top prevalent threats are what they are.”

Microsoft also revealed that the worm Win32/FakeRean, a form of malware that poses as fake antivirus software, was removed from 162,328 machines, despite only being added to the MMPC earlier in the month.

Country / Territory Threats Machines Threats / Machine
USA

8,750,626

2,183,166

4.00822

China

1,085,140

383,378

2.83047

Brazil

737,322

282,207

2.61299

UK

1,078,540

278,207

3.87675

Korea

601,646

262,539

2.29164

France

412,115

156,566

2.63221

Taiwan

236,047

140,283

1.68265

Spain

328,829

133,264

2.46750

Canada

433,770

119,885

3.61821

Mexico

447,841

117,845

3.80025

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