A Robot Network Seeks to Enlist Your Computer

30 seconds.

That's about how long it took for one of Microsoft's test computers to be infected when their in-house cybercrime investigators connected it to the Internet.

Typically, when used in such a scenario investigators like those at Microsoft setup the machines without any patches, services packs, or antivirus software. The idea is to get the computers infected on purpose and in doing so, to help the investigators track who's taking control of the computers and what their intents are.

The article on botnets in the New York Times goes on to describe how these computers are used. Most commonly, an infected computer, known as a "zombie" becomes a part of a "botnet".

Such botnets can then be used for almost any purpose from sending bulk email to stealing credit card numbers and personal information--and sometimes even for storing these ill gotten gains.

The solutions to these problems--and protecting your data online--remain unchanged:

  • Install the best anti virus software
  • Install a modern software firewall
  • Keep your computer patched and up-to-date
  • 10/19/2008

    Fake AntiVirus Spreads Fear

    30 Million Users Infected by Phony Antivirus Software

    A new report about fake antivirus software says that 30 million Internet users have fallen prey to the latest wave of computer viruses. This new wave essentially uses the same tactics virus creators have always employed: fear.

    What typically happens is: the user is surfing the Internet when a notice appears telling the user their computer is infected and the only way to get rid of the infection is to purchase their "antivirus." The problem is, the "antivirus" software they're selling is bogus.

    Un-savvy Internet users are quick to purchase the fake antivirus out of the fear their PC is about to crash any second. The user then pays anywhere from $30 - $100 for this fake antivirus, and now the virus creators have your credit card and personal information which could ultimately result in more lost money or even identity theft.

    To make things worse, the false antivirus is designed to look and feel like many of the legitimate, name-brand antivirus software on the market today. The software appears to scan and eliminate the "virus" all within a modern, professional interface.

    It's no wonder why many fall prey to this kind of sophisticated scam.

    To avoid this kind of infection in the first place, a top notch real-time antivirus and firewall is essential for any PC. Check out reviews of the top antivirus software applications available today. Don't fall for any flashing screens or dire warnings about system failure.

    Legitimate antivirus companies would never employ such methods.