17 March 2005

More than one million computers on the net have been hijacked to attack websites and pump out spam and viruses

Good Gates, what are these hijacked machines used for:
Many are used as relays for spam, to route unwanted adverts to PC users or as launch platforms for viruses.

But the research team found that many are put to very different uses.

During the monitoring period, the team saw 'bot nets used to launch 226 distributed denial-of-service attacks on 99 separate targets. These attacks bombard websites with data in an attempt to overwhelm the target.

Using a 'bot net of machines spread around different networks and nations makes such attacks hard to defend against.

The biggest culprit: PCs sitting on broadband connections that are never turned off. And most of these (more than 90%) are machines running Microsoft Windows.

I advise all to not use Microsoft products, and to choose Linux or Mac machines, primarily because of this reason. If you are running windows, take pains to secure your box, run a firewall, keep your anti-virus software current, and take the preventive steps to keep malware and spyware from gunking up your machine (now a bigger threat than viruses). Or reformat your hard drive every month…