The War for your PC

December 11th, 2008 | Sources: NY Times

Subjects:

The computer malware epidemic is spreading faster than a Britney Spears make-out video, and neither computer security experts nor the best-and-brightest at Microsoft can stop it.

Internet criminals have outmaneuvered and outspent the good guys for years. Last year they swindled computer users out of $100 billion via credit card theft, bank fraud and other Web-based schemes, according to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

They work primarily in Russia, Eastern Europe and wherever authorities ignore those who rake in tons of foreign currency.

The McColo Corporation, where 65% of the worlds’ spam originated until it got busted, had Russian ties for example.

Scientists at Georgia Tech estimate that 15% of all Internet-connected PCs have been captured by master servers and transformed into spam spewers or worse.

That’s up 50% from a year ago and means that 10 million PCs have been enslaved for criminal purposes, according to PandaLabs.

PC owners are at best dimly aware that their computers are a bit slow.

Meanwhile the antivirus vendors think they’re just losing a game of whack-a-mole, but most of the time according to FireEye, they can’t even spot the malware in the first place.

That’s because malware has become stunningly sophisticated. Some malicious programs actually disable antivirus software, remove competing malware, and then activate Windows Updates, creating an invisibility cloak around themselves that even Harry Potter would envy.


 

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