Substantial growth in user-generated content has opened new opportunities for Internet security threats, according to a new report by Commtouch. The fourth-quarter 2008 "Internet Threats Trend Report," released today, is based on the automated analysis of billions of email messages and Web sites in real-time at Commtouch’s Global Detection Centers.

Highlights from the report:

. Streaming media and downloads are among the top 10 Web site categories infected with malware and/or manipulated by phishing. These are two of the most popular categories within user-generated content sites.

. McColo, one of the largest hosts of cyber-criminal gangs, was effectively shut down in November 2008, causing spam levels to drop to one-third their usual level for several weeks.

. Spam levels averaged 72 percent of all email traffic throughout the quarter, falling briefly to 59 percent following the McColo closing in November.

. An average of 301,000 zombies were newly activated each day for the purpose of malicious activity.

. Brazil led in zombie computer activity, producing 14.6 percent of zombies at the end of the quarter.

. Spammers continue to exploit legitimate sites like Google docs to bypass content filtering systems.

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