Six of top ten bots in 2010 were new

The report, from a cybersecurity defence specialist called Damballa, also claims that only one botnet (Monik) was also present in the 2009 Top 10 largest botnet threats.

According to Damballa, the research found that the biggest botnet of 2010 - and one associated with the TDL Gang - dramatically rose to international attention in the second half of the year, claiming nearly 15% of all unique infected victims in 2010.

The analysis - Top 10 Botnet Threat Report 2010 - shows a dramatic increase in internet crime and targeted botnet attacks. At its peak in 2010, researchers found that the total number of unique botnet victims grew by 654%, with an average incremental growth of 8% per week.

Gunter Ollman, vice president of research with Damballa, said that, prior to 2010, many people thought in terms of spam and DDoS whenever the term 'botnet' was discussed.

"By the end of the year, botnets such as Mariposa, Aurora, Koobface and Stuxnet had become household names - revealing the breadth of crime commonly being facilitated with remotely controllable bot agents", he explained.

Dipping into the report reveals that the top 10 largest botnets in 2010 accounted for approximately 47% of all botnet compromised victims - down from 81% of the 2009 Top 10.

This decrease, says the research, was not unexpected as the number of new criminal botnet operators increased, as did the average number of botnets owned and managed by each botnet master.

Of the tens-of-millions of infected systems identified in 2010, Damballa found that more than 35% of unique IP addresses infected were simultaneously victims of two or more different botnet campaigns.

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