According to a new report by security firm Symantec, Turkey hosts the most botnets by population in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). The most populous cities in the country are Istanbul and the Turkish capital Ankara, containing the highest and second highest botnet controlled devices in the region.
Italy and Hungary follow Turkey, taking the second and third place among the most bot-populated countries. Cities of the countries follow the pattern: Rome is the third, while Budapest and Szeged take the fourth and fifth places, according to Norton by Symantec.
The previously mentioned countries are targeted by hackers since they are markets and cities where high-speed internet and IoT (Internet of Things) devices just became popular, however, ISPs lack the proper security. Security leaks include the lack of monitoring and updating of devices, such as routers, modems and sensors by the manufacturers.
When hackers control these devices, they can carry out attacks, such as sending spam messages, perpetrating automated clicks to carry out click-fraud to make money from pay-per-click adverts, and, most importantly: launching Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks resulting in the overrunning and taking down of websites.
Viewing the chart by bot density – the proportion of bot infections compared to the country’s overall internet connected population – Hungary ranks first. Hungarian people have one in 393 chance of using a device connected to a botnet. Monaco stands second on the list with a chance of 1 in 457.
The bot’s location does not provide any indication where the controlling hacker might reside or where the attack might take place. The primary reason for this is the dark net; hackers offer services where customers can hire botnets.
“Botnets are global in nature, and an infected device in Europe could contribute to an attack in Asia, controlled by a cybercriminal in North America,” Paul Wood, head of cybersecurity research at Symantec, said. “We’d probably have bots attacking from the Antarctic if there was more bandwidth there.”