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All you zombies

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Friday August 15, 2008 )

Apologies to The Hooters – great song, love 80’s music :). Panda Labs latest report on spam states that over 10 million zombie computers across the planet on any given day are spewing out spam and malware infected emails.

A zombie computer is one that has been hijacked by a “bot herder” for the purposes of spamming or other nefarious activities – the owner of the computer is usually totally unaware of this occuring.

The computer is compromised after an email or software containing malware is executed. The malware allows for the computer to be controlled remotely and it then becomes part of a botnet which can consist of thousands of computers.

While spamming is the most popular use of zombie computers, they can also carry out DDOS (Distributed Denial Of Service) attacks, whereby a site or server is inundated with requests; loading it down to a degree it no longer functions.

Surprisingly, the country with the highest proportion of zombie computers is Turkey (11 percent , followed by Brazil and Russia. Zombie computers in the USA account for 4.3
percent of the total.

The Panda Labs survey also found that Between April and June 2008, 74 percent of all mail received was spam. Panda Labs also states there has been no evolutionary jumps in the way spam and malware is distributed, mainly because existing methods continue to work.

I guess with so many computers now with broadband access and basically connected to the web 24/7, it’s been a bonanza for bot herders as more machines in their botnets are available at their beck and call at any given time.

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