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Criminals Make Bots Out of Compromised PCs

A global gang of criminals has created havoc on the Web world in the recent years. With the help of computer automation, they locate unprotected PCs and infect them with malicious software that turns them into illegal zombies while their owners remain unaware.

Security experts in government and industry have been dealing with viruses, hackers and similar worsening situations for decades. In this crime-infested social network, offending programmers impudently sell burglars' toolkits equivalent to the Internet while rogue administrators on the network create bundles of software-soaked, compromised PCs.

The FBI in its massive investigation has identified more than one million such zombie computers, said Shawn Henry, deputy director of an FBI Cyber Crime task force. Caller.com published Henry's statement on July 31, 2007.

Security officials have drawn a consensus that about 15,000-18,000 botnets are constantly in active state while 8-10 Million systems are under the control of botnet operators, who had compromised those systems, said Andre Di Mino of Shadowserver Foundation. The Foundation is an association of consultants who keep a watch over any security mishap in cyber space. SF Gate published Di Mino's statement on July 30, 2007.

Many industry experts, who would be gathering in Las Vegas to attend the Black Hat Security Conference on July 26, 2007, estimated a higher number of these zombie PCs that are also called 'bots'. The word is derived from the term 'botnet' that describes a group of zombie computers that a bot-herder controls.

Most companies deploy security systems devised to baffle criminal hackers. However, many computer users know little about the risks and even less about the measures to counter them. Experts call on Web designers to enhance their security systems.

Eric Chien of Security Software Company Symantec Corp drew a distinction between today's hackers and their predecessors. The earlier hackers, also known as 'script kiddies', used to circulate harmless worms only to flaunt their programming skills. But today's bot operators have the objective of making money only. This type of cyber crime has become stealthier while the criminals take care they leave no trace behind. Caller.com reported this on July 31, 2007.

Related article: Criminals Hack With More Evil Tactics

» SPAMfighter News - 8/9/2007

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