AfterDawn: Tech news

Two million U.S. PCs are part of botnets

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 13 Oct 2010 13:16 User comments (12)

Two million U.S. PCs are part of botnets A report compiled by Microsoft Corp. says there are 2.2 million personal computers in the United States that have been infected and are counted as part of botnets. Brazil has the second highest level of infections at 550,000, while 14.6 out of every 1,000 in South Korea are part of botnets.
Microsoft's 240-page report takes an in-depth analysis of botnets, and is intended to alert people and organizations to the growth and danger of malicious botnets. "Most people have this idea of a virus and how it used to announce itself," said Cliff Evans, head of security and identity at Microsoft UK. "Few people know about botnets."

Botnets are used to spew spam around the world, carrying out DDoS attacks on web services and sending phishing e-mails. Personal and private information can also be hoarded from infected machines and uploaded to locations for bot herders to retrieve and sell on in underground markets online.

"Once they have control of the machine they have the potential to put any kind of malicious code on there," said Mr Evans. "It becomes a distributed computing resource they then sell on to others." Some put more pressure on their bots than others. The report cites the Lethic botnet, which was responsible for 56 percent of all botnet spam sent between March and June, despite only accounting for 8.3 percent of known botnet IP addresses.

"It's phenomenal the amount of grip that thing has," said Mr Evans. In the three months between April and June 2010, Microsoft software has cleaned up more than 6.5 million infections, more than twice as much for the same period last year.

Defending against infections like this is pretty straight-forward according to Evans, who suggests that users simply ensure Automatic Updates on their operating system is on, firewall software is running, an A/V tool is installed and that users keep all third party applications (particularly those used in web browsers such as flash) up to date.

Previous Next  

12 user comments

113.10.2010 13:29

They oughta advertise the for the DDOS ones cause I bet they'd get tons of volunteers for some of those...lol


Just my $0.02,

dEwMe

213.10.2010 13:48

And guess what, 99.9% are Windows-based.

313.10.2010 13:53

Originally posted by tatsh:
And guess what, 99.9% are Windows-based.
Of course, Windows dominates the market. If Linux did it would be an equal target, same as Mac, but no point fishing in an empty pond is there? It's also a report by Microsoft using figures sourced from its own services.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 13 Oct 2010 @ 13:59

413.10.2010 14:08

Indeed, and since spamming makes some asshole rich out there, you go where the $ is. Next stop, spamming iPhones

513.10.2010 14:54

None of mine are. :p

613.10.2010 17:12

As usual M$ are complete morons! What a down play of the information they have! Everyone wants to white wash everything.

The REAL poop is over 70% of all malware discovered these days can download more software. No one wants to do the real math fearful people will stop buying their product.

Symantec says 6.8 million but former exec thinks they are off by by several magnitudes of order!

713.10.2010 22:05

Originally posted by Dela:
Originally posted by tatsh:
And guess what, 99.9% are Windows-based.
Of course, Windows dominates the market. If Linux did it would be an equal target, same as Mac, but no point fishing in an empty pond is there? It's also a report by Microsoft using figures sourced from its own services.
Agreed, great metaphor. I love metaphors when it comes to computing. Any security professional will agree with Dela. OSX is intrisically less secure, but there is no point wasting effort on only approximately 5-6% of the market. I hope Mysttic is right and we start seeing more iPhone exploits, only to put things into perspective a bit for the Apple fanboys. Unfortunately that day probably won't come because Android is taking over. Thus, if smartphone exploits are to become more prevalent, Android would be the prime target.

814.10.2010 9:28

Everyone remember that Microsoft itself are just anal toss pots that are just plug and play drones.

the 360 division is exempted due to i am a 360 fanboy but the windows side of things has all ways been something to laugh about. In the end i love my linux box, i don't need windows

914.10.2010 11:32

A giant like M$ ought to have some competents just by random chance. Like most giants, the top is filled with ruthless very persuasive salesman not technically competent persons.

1014.10.2010 21:16

if you have windows Fista or #7 installed, your part of the biggest botnet in history.

best of all its not illegal because its Microsoft doing it.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Oct 2010 @ 21:18

Powered By

1115.10.2010 14:26

What gives me pause is if Microsoft can pinpoint the number of botnet infected machines to a finite number, then, why can't they then go out and fix them? Simple: it costs. :)

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 15 Oct 2010 @ 14:26

1218.10.2010 9:40

Originally posted by dbminter:
What gives me pause is if Microsoft can pinpoint the number of botnet infected machines to a finite number, then, why can't they then go out and fix them? Simple: it costs. :)
No M$ is just guessing and a bad guess at that. They are working off formulas such as for every one they fix there are 10 more out there. The problem is they aren't fixing many because they can't find them it is probably closer to for every one they fix there are 100-1000 they haven't found.

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive