Vatican City has the highest density of botnets per internet users in all of Europe, according to data from antivirus provider Norton. According to the firm’s map of botnet attacks, Vatican City has one bot for every five internet users.

Botnets have come into the spotlight more readily since the October 2016 DDoS attack on Dyn, which was blamed on the Mirari botnet. But it can be unclear what exactly constitutes a bot.

According to Norton’s map: “Bots are internet connected devices infected with malware that allow hackers to remotely take control of many devices at a time. Combined, these devices form powerful bot networks (botnets) that can spread malware, generate spam, and commit other types of crime and fraud online.”

SEE: Information security incident reporting policy (Tech Pro Research)

For its botnet map, Norton used telemetry from Symantec’s Global Threat Intelligence Network. For bot density, Macedonia took second place with one bot for every six users, and Switzerland had the third-highest density with one bot for every eight internet users.

In terms of countries with the highest bot populations, Russia took the top spot in Europe with 13.59%. Italy’s bots accounted for 10.17% of Europe and those in Germany accounted for 8.87% of Europe, the Norton map said.

However, individual cities had an entirely different ranking when it came to bot population. Madrid, Spain accounted for 4.64% of Europe, while Istanbul, Turkey made up 4.62% and Moscow, Russia had 4.59%, Norton found.

Botnets are especially dangerous given the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), which many of them target. As they explore IoT, businesses should be careful what they connect to the internet and make provisions to protect against potential botnet DDoS attacks.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Vatican City has the highest density of botnets in all of Europe, with one bot for every five internet users, according to Norton.
  2. Russia is the country in Europe with highest population of bots, Norton’s survey said, accounting for 13.59% of bots in the area.
  3. Organizations should be wary of botnet threats, especially if they plan on implementing an IoT deployment.