Russia has passed China to become the largest generator of spyware and other malicious code, according to a report.
Security software maker PC Tools says that Russia now accounts for 27.9 percent of such software, compared to China's 26.5 percent. The US, which had been the second largest producer in prior surveys is now in third place, accounting for a hair less than 10 percent of malware.
Russia is also known as a hotbed for junk e-mail, also called spam.
PC Tools said that the death of Russian Business Network, a well-known malware distributor, has not slowed that country's production of malicious code.
"The vacuum left by the RBN has been filled by other malware distributors," said PC Tools malware analyst Sergei Shevchenko said in a statement. "The bottom line is that there are more viruses and spyware coming out of Russia now than ever before and the complexity of this malware is also increasing."
In fact, he said, the now-defunct organisation was easier to track than the smaller outfits that are filling its shoes. "Now we are seeing Russian malware hosting services being advertised for servers in Malaysia, China, Panama, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey and India."
For-profit attacks have been on the rise, particularly those targeted at small groups or individuals.
Below is a list of the top 10 malware-producing countries, while PC Tools has an interactive world map on its site.