Malicious-software spreaders get sneakier, more prevalent
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| Tim Cranton, director of Microsoft's Internet Safety Enforcement
| Team, calls bot networks "the tool of choice for those intent on
| using the Internet to carry out crimes."
| Estimating the number of bots is difficult, but top researchers who
| participate in meetings of high-tech's Messaging Anti-Abuse Working
| Group often use a 7% infection rate as a discussion point. That
| means as many as 47 million of the 681 million PCs connected to
| the Internet worldwide may be under the control of a bot network.
| Security giant McAfee detected 28,000 distinct bot networks active
| last year, more than triple the amount in 2004. And a February
| survey of 123 tech executives, conducted by security firm nCircle,
| pegged annual losses to U.S. businesses because of computer-related
| crimes at $197 billion.
| Diabl0 designed Zotob to quietly seek out certain Windows computer
| servers equipped with the latest compilation of upgrades, called a
| service pack. But he failed to account for thousands of Windows
| servers still running outdated service packs, says Peter Allor,
| director of intelligence at Internet Security Systems.