Symantec recently released its Message Labs report for May 2010, which found that 90 percent of spam messages now contain a URL. However, the company reported that many messages use common links to appear more legitimate. The practice has resulted in more successful compromises of personal desktop security.

Among the URLs most frequently exploited by cyber criminals are popular social networking services, blogging and file-sharing websites.

The report also found that botnets in East African nations have risen considerably. Last summer, a broadband initiative provided internet access to millions of these countries' residents for the first time, which Symantec believes is partially responsible for the new desktop security threats.

"Historically, broadband adoption has been a tipping point for spammers to acquire more bots," MessageLabs' Paul Wood said. "The new undersea fiber-optic cable along the east coast of Africa has enabled rapid growth in the number of users obtaining high-speed connections to the internet creating a great opportunity for attackers."

Botnet presence has become a major problem for web security companies in 2010 as viruses believed to be extinct are returning and new ones are infecting countless machines. In February, the Kneber botnet infected more than 70,000 computers in roughly 2,000 networks of major corporations.ADNFCR-2553-ID-19807320-ADNFCR