(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Almost half of Oman's computers are infected with malware, either already installed or stored on hard drives and other removable data storages, according to an expert. Oman is ranked 33rd in theworld in terms of number of local users facing malware while browsing theInternet, and 50th in terms of non-web based threats, according to DmitryTarakanov, malware researcher, global research and analysis team, KasperskyLab.''We counted the average number of maliciousprogrammes that have been detected and blocked for each user of KasperskySecurity Network (KSN) in GCC countries for the third quarter of 2012. Itturned out that we have blocked or removed about 17 malware per active KSNuser. This is twice the average number of blocks/removals in North America,''Tarakanov said in an e-mail interview.''In UAE and Oman we found 22 and 18 malwareper KSN user respectively. The lowest in the region is in Kuwait, where weblocked 11 malicious objects per user,'' he added. The average share of Internet users attacked inGCC during Q3 of 2012 was 24.4 per cent, which means that one in every fourusers faced malware while surfing.'' However Oman, Qatar and UAE are aboveaverage in this aspect,'' said Tarakanov.During the same period, 37.5 per cent of allinfections in GCC were caused by malware found on computer hard drives andremovable media, which is higher than those spread via the Internet. ''Egypt and Oman lead the race with 46 per centand 43.5 per cent, which means we found something particularly malicious onevery second hard drive or removable devices (USB, flashdrive) checked,''Tarakanov pointed out.According to Tarakanov, there are still a lotof computers without proper antivirus and updated software, which provides theperfect environment for self-propagating malware, which are really widespreadin GCC. ''As per our research, computers in GCC countries, including Oman, areinfected with a lot of self-replicating threats like Net-worm.Win32.Kido,Virus.Win32.Sality, Worm.Win32.Mabezat and several Trojan-downloaders.'' He further explained that such threats form ahuge botnet (a collection of malware-operated, Internet-connected computers)that are used for spreading different kinds of malware and spam to othercomputers. ''Usually, Trojan-Banker programmes are designed to steal useraccount data relating to online banking systems, e-payment systems and othercredit/debit card systems. The data is then transmitted to the malicious usercontrolling the Trojan. Also, such botnets deliver spam and proxy-bots that areused by cyber-criminals to organise distributed denial-of-service attacks(ddos) and hide their activity,'' said Tarakanov. According to him, theapplications most susceptible to exploits in GCC are Java, Adobe AcrobatReader, Adobe Flash, Android and Windows OS.