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Risk

9/10/2007
02:18 PM
Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
Commentary
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Botnet Storm Surge: Insecurity In Numbers

Whatever the summer heavy weather season has been like in your neck of the woods, the cyber-season saw the explosive growth of a monster security storm. After building strength all year, the Storm botnet worm has created a zombie grid so large that it could be a threat to... pretty much whatever the hackers who created it want it to be a threat to.

Whatever the summer heavy weather season has been like in your neck of the woods, the cyber-season saw the explosive growth of a monster security storm. After building strength all year, the Storm botnet worm has created a zombie grid so large that it could be a threat to... pretty much whatever the hackers who created it want it to be a threat to.By far the largest e-mail disseminated threat since the Sober infection back in 1985, Storm has assembled as many as 2 million computers (all Windows-based) into its botnet. That gives it, by some estimates, more raw computing power than the most sophisticated supercomputers.

Lately Storm has added blogs and YouTube videos to its spread-the-terror toolkit, So far, the zombie computers that comprise the botnet appear to be generating spam, lots of spam (some sources suggest more than a 1,500 percent increase in spam is attributable to Storm over the past few months.)

But with that much computing power at its disposal, Storm could be unleashed against corporate, institutional and government or military targets pretty effectively. Botwar has already been waged against Estonia.

Signs of infection that you and your employees/colleagues should be aware of: sluggishness when connected to the Internet, lagging response from keyboard and mouse, noticeable increase in hard disk activity, large numbers of returned mails that you didn't send. Spread the woird -- not the worm.

We can, of course, hope that as Storm gets bigger and bigger its puppet-masters devote the resources of their botnet to a worthy cause: attacking other crooks' botnets.

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