Computer scientist Paul Barford has watched malicious traffic on the Internet evolve from childish pranks to a billion-dollar “shadow industry” in the last decade, and his profession has largely been one step behind the bad guys. Viruses, phishing scams, worms and spyware are only the beginning, he says.Here are some other recent articles.
“Some of the most worrisome threats today are things called ‘botnets’ — computers that are taken over by an outside party and are beyond the user’s control,” says Barford of UW–Madison. “They can do all sorts of nasty things: steal passwords, credit card numbers and personal information, and use the infected machine to forward spam and attack other machines.
“Botnets represent a convergence of all of the other threats that have existed for some time,” he adds.
One of the most menacing aspects of botnets is that they can go largely undetected by the owner of a personal computer. That feature has allowed botnets to grow exponentially online, with millions of infected computers bought and traded on an underground market that one security company estimates has surpassed $1 billion in activity, Barford says.
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The discussion page of the Wikipedia page noted that the Storm Botnet seems to have passed it's peak. A PC World article from Oct 21 says it is only 10% of it's former size. See Storm Worm Now Just a Squall.