More Malware? - Robot Zombies
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A zombie, as far as computers are concerned, is one that has been infected by a computer virus or Trojan via a hacker through the Internet. Zombies are usually part of a larger group of zombies called a botnet, which are then used to carry out malicious acts at the operator's behest. Most users are unaware that their computer is a zombie, much less performing these tasks. This makes it easier for the actual spammer to avoid detection because they are operating through someone else's computer.
Botnets are controlled remotely via the bot herder. Each individual bot scans their environment and reproduces itself using vulnerabilities, such as easily deciphered passwords. It can automatically retrieve, analyze, and store information from web servers. Over 85% of all spam is sent from some kind of criminal botnet. According to PandaLabs, a branch of Panda Software, somewhere around a half a million computers a day are infected by bots.
In the Google report, Provos says, “Frequently, this malware allows the adversary to gain full control of the compromised systems leading to the exfiltration of sensitive information or installation of utilities that facilitate control of the host.” This basically lays out the purpose of a botnet in scientific terms. What's worse is that tracking and infiltrating a botnet is becoming much more difficult as the Web becomes more complex.
One thing that is known is that, according to Sophos, the iFrame vulnerability in Internet Explorer was the preferred means for malware attacks last year. Specifically, the vulnerability within the script is caused by a boundary error within the handling of certain attributes in the <IFRAME> and <FRAME> HTML tags. If exploited successfully, it will allow for the administration of arbitrary code.
*Note – this was the case for Internet Explorer version 6.0, still a widely used web browser.
Since 2006, China has overtaken the United States as the top malware-hosting country, with 51.4% of the world's malware-hosted sites compared to 23.4% in America. “We would like to see China making less of an impact on the charts in the coming year. Chinese computers, whether knowingly or not, are making a disturbingly large contribution to the problems of viruses and spam affecting all of us today,” says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
That's the problem. Keep reading to see why some are examining and criticizing so-called “Hacker Safe” web sites and the tools that supposedly protect them.
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