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Risk

4/30/2008
09:36 PM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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You're Infected With Malware. And You Don't Care.

Could it be true? Could there be thousands, if not more, Internet users infected with botnets, who know they're infected, and don't care enough to do anything about it?

Could it be true? Could there be thousands, if not more, Internet users infected with botnets, who know they're infected, and don't care enough to do anything about it?That's the gist of this story by Kelly Jackson Higgins, senior editor, at Dark Reading.

From the story:

Security experts worry that increasingly, users who do have a clue that their machine is infected with some sort of malware either just aren't motivated to do something about it or don't know what to do ... Some consider a potential infection no big deal as long as their computer is working and getting them onto the Web.

It this is true, it's appalling. Botnets place all of us at risk of attack, and jeopardize the availability of corporate and government systems. When you consider the magnitude of disruption caused in Estonia by a recent distributed denial-of-service attack, these botnets are actually a public hazard.

But it may be apathy, more than ignorance, that is the root of the problem:

the National Cybersecurity Alliance found that 71% of users have never heard of a botnet, while about 29% are "aware" of botnets. While 53% said they believed it was possible for a hacker to use their computer to launch an attack on a person, a business, and on our country . . .

Whether it's apathy, or ignorance, the way to solve this problem is by having ISPs shut down Internet access for any systems that are infected -- until they're cleaned up.

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