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Kaspersky Lab’s annual report on threat evolution for 2008, shows there was a sharp increase in the number of malware attacks on online gaming accounts, as well as social networking sites.The company’s anti-virus software detected more than 23 million malware attacks worldwide, with China creating most malware programs, while Russian hackers and programs created the most sophisticated.

Russia also was seen as the leading exporter of spam, with 22 percent of the unsolicited email coming from the former Soviet Republic. The amount of overall spam sent out in 2008 increased by 2.1 percent over 2007.

Kaspersky Lab experts note that a malware ecosystem is evolving, with labour being divided between the cybercriminals who place orders, and those who fulfil the orders. The vast majority of malicious programs are created not by virus writers who intend to use the programs, but with the intention of selling them on for use by others.

The spread of rootkits became an increasingly serious issue in 2008. New methods for conducting attacks were also identified, including the use of botnets.

The antivirus industry, Internet providers and governments around the world struck a series of blows against cybercrime. This resulted in the closure of a number of companies which allowed cybercriminals to use their resources, including the Russian Business Network.

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