Computer Crime Research Center


Crackdown on zombies

Date: November 08, 2005

An Australian Internet security initiative launched today by the Minister for Communications, plans to target ‘zombie’ computers in a bid to protect Australians from hackers.

“Zombies are computers compromised by hackers and then controlled remotely to send spam, collect personal information and launch denial of service attacks,” Senator Coonan said.

“The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and five Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have joined forces to pilot a system to identify zombie computers, notify the unfortunate owners and help them take appropriate action quickly.

Many ISPs have expressed an interest in participating in the project. Five ISPs have agreed to participate in a pilot project: Telstra Bigpond, Optus Internet, Westnet, Pacific Internet and West Australian Network.

The participating ISPs will receive alerts from ACMA with data on the addresses of zombies operating on their networks. ISPs will use this information to advise customers that their computers have been compromised and provide information on how they can better secure their computer.

“Computer owners are often unaware that their computers are being controlled by others and used for malicious purposes,” the Minister said.

More concerning is that these Zombies can then be ‘collected’ in their thousands by hackers to form ‘botnets’ – which can then be used to launch large scale attacks or release huge amounts of spam.
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