The UK is the most popular country to target with phishing attacks, according to the latest monthly intelligence report on spam and malware from security firm MessageLabs.
The report found that one in every 253.6 emails sent last month to UK inboxes was connected to a phishing operation. The global average is one in every 562.3 emails.
MessageLabs reported that spam in the UK was down slightly to a rate of 90 per cent of all email. Similar falls were seen in the US, Canada and Denmark, which remained the most spam-ridden country with a rate of 94 per cent.
Botnets were responsible for 83.4 per cent of the January spam load. Much of the remainder was from webmail services, which MessageLabs said is still popular with spammers despite new security measures from service providers.
Among the more interesting stories in the report is the rise and fall of the Lethic botnet. First surfacing in December, Lethic accounted for just over five per cent of all spam activity in the first week of January and then mysteriously vanished.
Paul Wood, a senior analyst at MessageLabs parent company Symantec, suggested that the disappearance of Lethic may have come at the benefit of another botnet.
"Lethic seems to have disappeared almost as quickly as it arrived," he said. "The Bagle botnet was sending the exact same spam with the same hyperlinks as Lethic, and over the same time period, leading us to believe that Lethic possibly came from the same creators as Bagle or the people behind the spam may have hired the resources of more than one botnet gang to increase output."
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