Is that computer sitting on your desk secretly a zombie? If so, it could be contributing to the millions of spam messages being pumped out of your country every day.

Graham Cluley, Contributor

October 29, 2009

2 Min Read

Is that computer sitting on your desk secretly a zombie? If so, it could be contributing to the millions of spam messages being pumped out of your country every day.Billions of spam messages are sent around the world every day, with more than 99% determined to be relayed from innocent users' computers that have been hijacked and turned into a "zombie."

Hackers control networks of zombie computers, known as a botnet, in order to silently send out adverts that peddle adverts for sex drugs, financial scams, and malware that steal identities and even to launch denial-of-service attacks.

If you're not running a tight ship when it comes to computer security, then you could actually be adding to the problem.

And that's why it would be great if you checked this weekend if you have a zombie whirring away at home. It seems somehow appropriate considering it's the Halloween weekend.

Here's a video promoting the idea of International Kill-A-Zombie Day.

Zombie computers, or botnets, are truly a global problem -- and all of us can play a part in ensuring that the PCs we own, and those of our friends, are running the latest antivirus software.

Just take a look at the dirty dozen chart of top spam-relaying countries between July and September.

The top spam-relaying countries in July-September 2009 were:

US

Brazil

India

S Korea

Vietnam

China

Poland

Turkey

Russia

Spain

Italy

Argentina

Other

 

Top spam-relaying continents (July-September 2009):

Asia

Europe

S America

N America

Africa

Oceania

Unclassified

Maybe using the medium of horror movies at this spooky time of year will wake people up to the danger that may lurk on their own PCs.

Graham Cluley is senior technology consultant at Sophos, and has been working in the computer security field since the early 1990s. When he's not updating his other blog on the Sophos website, you can find him on Twitter at @gcluley. Special to Dark Reading.

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