Sunday, September 7, 2008

Number of Bot-Infected PCs Skyrockets

The number of PCs compromised with software that lets cyber criminals control the machines from afar has more than quadrupled over the last quarter, security experts warn

The estimates come from Shadowserver, a group of volunteers that monitor activity from robot networks or "botnets," large armies of hacked personal computers used for spam, phishing and all kinds of criminal activity. Shadowserver saw a rise from roughly 100,000 botted PCs to about 400,000 over the past three months.

John Bambenek, an incident handler with the SANS Internet Storm Center, which tracks hacking trends, speculates that the spike is probably related to the massive numbers of Web sites that have been hacked by SQL attacks, and seeded with browser exploits.

While those numbers might seem high, they suggest more of a recent upward trend in bot counts rather than an accurate picture of just how many compromised PCs are out there. In fact, numerous other security experts this year have spotted single botnets that include upwards of 350,000 compromised PCs. And by nearly all accounts, there are thousands of distinct botnets out there today under the thumb of criminal groups and individual hackers.

Read more ...
Brian Krebs on Computer Security. The Washington Post Company.

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