Experts: Zombies ousting viruses
Source: CNET News - Posted by Pax Dickinson   
Security Speaking at the AusCERT conference in Australia's Gold Coast on Tuesday, Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Kaspersky Labs, said that the influence of organized crime on the malicious software industry has led to a change of tactics. Instead of trying to create viruses and worms that infect as many computers as possible, authors of malicious software are instead trying to infect 5,000 or 10,000 computers at a time to create personalized zombie armies.

"Do I need a million computers to send spam? No. To do a DDoS attack, 5,000 or 10,000 PCs is more than enough. That is why virus writers and hackers have changed their tactics of infection--they don't need a global epidemic," said Kaspersky.

Zombie networks are groups of computers that have been infected by malware that allows the author to control the infected PC and use it to send spam or launch DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks.

According to Kaspersky, organized criminals are advertising zombie computers for rent on underground newsgroups and Web pages. When they receive an order for a certain-size army, they set about trying to infect computers using infected e-mail attachments or socially engineered spam with links to malicious Web pages. As soon as they infect enough computers to fulfill the order, they stop using that particular piece of malicious software.

"Say the virus author needs 5,000 infected computers. They put the Trojan on a Web page and wait for 5,000 machines to be infected, then they remove the Trojan because that is enough," Kaspersky explained. "When they get a new request for another zombie network, they release a new Trojan. They are able to control the number of infected computers."

Read this full article at CNET News

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