Report: 13 Percent of North American Homes Infected with Malware, 2.2 Million Globally

A new report by network security provider Kindsight suggests that 13 percent of all home networks in North America are infected with malware, which is slightly less than the infection rate of the previous quarter (14 percent). That works out to one in seven home networks. In addition, some 6.5 percent of broadband customers were found to have been infected with high-level threats such as bots, rootkits, and banking Trojans.

Botnets are particularly bothersome, with ZeroAccess being recognized as the most active botnet in the third quarter of 2012. According to Kindsight, around 2.2 million users worldwide are infected with the ZeroAccess botnet, with 685,000 of them in the U.S. alone.

Two different versions of the ZeroAccess ad-click botnet topped Kindsight's list of the worst high-level threats around the globe.

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"These bots are engaged in a sophisticated ad-click fraud scheme that could be costing advertisers almost a million dollars each day," Kindsight explains, adding that Bitcoin mining is another way in which these botnets generate revenue.

ZeroAccess uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) command and control protocol, where infected hosts communicate with so-called super-nodes. A super-node is an infected host that is directly connected to the Internet without an intervening home router other network address translation (NAT) device. On any given day, Kindsight said it detected communications without about 200,000 super-nodes, most of which originated in the U.S.