Print 102 comment(s) - last by Iketh.. on Oct 18 at 2:50 AM

Unbeknowst to you, your computer could be a double agent, committing cybercrime as part of a internet-connected botnet. Over 2.2 million American PCs are part of some botnet, according to Microsoft.  (Source: Ubisoft)
U.S. leads the world in botnet virus infection rates

According to a new 240-page security report from Microsoft dubbed the Security Intelligence Report, America is among the most infected countries in the world when it comes to botnets.  The report uses information collected in the first half of 2010 via the Microsoft Malicious Software Removal Tool.

Over 2.2 million PCs in the U.S. are infected with a virus that makes them part of one of the internet's massive botnets.  The term "botnet" refers to a group of connected computers that can be used for ill purposes such as spamming, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and mass credit card fraud.

Brazil came in second place for most infected computers, with 550,000 botnet-infected PCs.  Per computer population, though South Korea had the highest rate (though its total number of infected machines is lower than that of the U.S. or Brazil).  In South Korea 14.6 out of 1,000 PCs are in a botnet, versus 5.2 computers out of 1,000 in the U.S.

Cliff Evans, head of security and identity at Microsoft UK, comments to 
BBC News, "Most people have this idea of a virus and how it used to announce itself.  Few people know about botnets."

Fewer people perhaps know about Microsoft's Malicious Software Removal Tool (MRT).  MRT has been is a free tool Microsoft includes with Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7.  First released in 2005, the tool is easy to run -- just go to "Start", type "run" in the search bar, and then type "mrt" (case insensitive) in the resulting popup.  The tool will then activate and be ready to scan your computer and remove many common types of malware.

Perhaps if everyone learns how to use the MRT, America can escape earning the dubious distinction of being the world's biggest botnet participant in 2011.  Given the general public's ignorance of security, that seems unlikely, though.

Despite the difficulty in getting the public to practice proper security, Microsoft is taking steps to try to win the war against botnet masters on its own.  The company recently seized control over 276 internet domains that were being used by botnet owners.  And it has beefed up the securityof its most recent operating system, Windows 7, making it harder to infect new PCs.

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RE: idea
By dgingeri on 10/14/2010 1:16:47 PM , Rating: 2
someone did not sense the sarcasm...

RE: idea
By sprockkets on 10/14/2010 1:24:40 PM , Rating: 1
IF the article is correct AND the tool does NOT run when it is installed, AND it does NOT say you have to run it manually to detect junk, then the tool is a FAILURE.

Seriously, it doesn't seem like it ever runs through and does a scan when it installs on an update, so there may be truth to this.

RE: idea
By dgingeri on 10/14/2010 1:42:34 PM , Rating: 3
I do remember with some previous Windows XP machines (I'm a professional corporate support tech, so I see a lot of machines with various problems) that the MRT did automatically remove some things and put entries in the event log about them.

In one particular case, I had a laptop user who was away from the office most of the time. (He lived in Minnesota and the office was in Denver.) He came in complaining about slowness and popups during a convention. He didn't need his laptop for the day, so he wanted me to clean it up. I went through and ran spybot and AV scans first. Those removed several things, but the slowness didn't go away. I then found that automatic updates hadn't run for several months, so I installed the updates. The slowness disappeared, so I looked in the event log. it listed that it had removed 3 things that the spybot and AV scans had missed, but it never popped up anything to tell me that.

So, the tool at least used to automatically remove some things without notice. I never knew there was a way to run it manually until today.

RE: idea
By sprockkets on 10/14/10, Rating: -1
RE: idea
By Luticus on 10/14/2010 3:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
see, in my experiance it's the other way around. personally though i use microsoft security essentials. best there is as far as i can tell.

RE: idea
By sprockkets on 10/14/10, Rating: -1
RE: idea
By Luticus on 10/14/2010 4:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
lol the rate down is probably due to your reference to spybot as useless. spybot may not be the end-all be-all it used to be back in the day but useless is a bit of a stretch. honestly i've seen it be fairly effective with detection and removal.

RE: idea
By sprockkets on 10/14/10, Rating: -1
RE: idea
By dark matter on 10/15/2010 2:53:09 AM , Rating: 4
Don't you just love it when people have to resort to calling other people "losers" in their debates. I always find it gives the poster that air of credibility they wouldn't normally get if they merely presented a reasoned and referenced argument.

RE: idea
By 0ldman on 10/15/2010 6:33:34 PM , Rating: 1
If you rely on one antispyware application then you are still infected.

It is that simple.

Nothing out there finds everything.

These little spyware kiddies just keep pooping new bugs and the companies out there trying to get rid of them just can't keep up. Spybot finds some, MalwareBlaster finds some, SuperAntispyware, Trendmicro, MS, AVG, Sophos, etc...

Norton and McAfee seem to be pretty good at separating people from their money, but not much more.

There really isn't a light duty antivirus program anymore and I haven't found one that catches everything yet.

RE: idea
By chick0n on 10/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: idea
By dark matter on 10/15/2010 2:54:47 AM , Rating: 3
With your attitude you wouldn't even cut the grade flipping burgers.

RE: idea
By Iketh on 10/18/2010 2:50:42 AM , Rating: 2
the reason these windows add-ons run in the background and dont notify you of anything is to prevent MS from being sued again for monopolization, as they did with Internet Explorer

if Defender and Malicious Software Removal were "up front and personal" with the end-user, MS would be right back in court

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings

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