Recently, a family member mentioned to me that their personal computer didn't have a comprehensive anti-virus program. Not good. Today's post describes one type of virus software: botnets. Earlier this month, anti-botnet firm Damballa released it report of the leading botnots in 2010 (PDF).
A "botnet" is a collection computers used to run a software application... in this instance to perform cybercrime. The collection of computers can be computers located in consumers' homes and small businesses. The collection is infected with the malware software, controlled remotely by the software developer. Often, the botnet software works in the backgroound to remain unseen and operate secretly.
Botnets are used to perform certain identity-theft tasks, like stealing personal and bank information, stealing companies' intellectual property, and performing other corporate espionage. Botnets are also used to send computer virus software, send e-mail spam, and to flood a website with page requests rendering that website unavilable and unusable by the public (a/k/a DDoS = Distributed Denial of Service attack).
According to Damballa, the top 10 botnets accounted for approximately 47% of all botnet compromised victims during 2010, down from 81% during 2009. Damballa estimated that 35.2% of infected IP addresses had two or more different botnets running.Those leading botnets, based on the penetration into infected computers:
|Rank||Botnet Name||Penetration % of Victims|
A responsible consumer doesn't want to contribute to the computer virus problem. What should you do? Keep the anti-virus software on your home computer/laptop up-to-date and running. Run scans weekly of the hard drive, including any external or USB drives. Use a comprehensive anti-virus software product, too. If your computer is running slower than usual, it may be infected.