Computer Crime Research Center


Hackers use bot nets

Date: April 26, 2006
Source: SecurityFocus
By: Robert Lemos

Online fraudsters and data thieves are more frequently using bot networks to get home and business PCs to do their bidding, with some estimates of the number of infected systems as high as 47 million.

An article in USA Today delves into three arrests in the last year of the people who allegedly created and controlled bot networks, known as bot masters or bot herders: Jeanson James Ancheta, who plead guilty in January to computer intrusion charges; Farid Essebar, the alleged creator of the Zotob worm; and Christopher Maxwell, charged with creating a bot network to grow an adware affiliate network.

The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Groups' believes that as many as 7 percent of PCs worldwide--about 47 million--are infected by bots and that 70 percent of spam is sent from bot nets, according to the article.

Bot software, especially openly developed code that allows plug-and-play programming, has quickly risen to prominence in the past three years, despite some high profile arrests. Bot masters can quickly develop attacks for the latest vulnerabilities in popular software and update their programs. More stealthy bots have infiltrated computers at government agencies and large companies.
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