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Large organizations not necessarily safe from bots

According to an association of bandwidth providers, security companies, as also other interested entities -MAAWG (Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group), online networks of about 10-25% are possibly contaminated with malware or bots inflicting their PCs, while these bots spew 90% of spam.

A number of clues exist that suggest the presence of bots on the networks of large organizations. These networks are precious to cyber-criminals as they contain priceless data of bank or treasury transactions. Moreover, the bots could as well be utilized to seize personal information alternatively to launch distributed denial-of-service assaults, MAAWG reported.

Says Chairman Michael O'Reirdan of MAAWG, ISPs have special worries regarding the problem, as the bot menace involves snatching identities off people. IT departments of large organizations should also be similarly concerned for, such organizations have computers, which travel not only between work and home but also around the globe and do not always have patches installed, according to O'Reirdan. InternetNews.com reported this on August 4, 2009.

Thus MAAWG suggests that ISPs remotely scan end-users' computers as well as notify them if they spot any malicious software via e-mail or other methods, while a highly effective way could be in-browser alerts, although implementing it could lead to technical challenges, MAAWG said.

Moreover, the association stated that IT managers needed to pay attention to the basics, like implementing patches, and in case an infection occurred, they must again install the operating software along with patches after ensuring that a firewall was in place.

Said O'Reirdan that bots represented a worldwide affliction and therefore awareness of the above best practices formed a vital step for industry players safeguarding consumers. The chairman further said that members of the association were sharing their global experiences so that operators of computer networks worldwide could more actively deal with the problem. Also, the industry was becoming increasingly proactive towards warning consumers whenever bots were spotted on their PCs as also towards assisting them in cleaning the malware, O'Reirdan added.

Meanwhile, a July survey by MAAWG discovered that although 80% of computer users knew about bots, merely 20% were sure that malware would never infect them.

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