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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: Windows, the hole filled waste of an OS.
By rudy on 10/14/2010 4:47:39 PM , Rating: 1
If linux is so much better how come their are millions of infected servers running linux?

I have been doing web work for years and holes in scripts running on linux machines are common place it has happened to me on multiple occasions. The fact is if you are going to exploit an OS you are not going to bother going after linux at the consumer level but at the server level it is a prime and suseptible target. However if you pay close attention to security. You can avoid it, but the same thing is true on windows.

No one builds an entirely secure OS and even if they do the software you run on it is likely to contain flaws.

RE: Windows, the hole filled waste of an OS.
By mindless1 on 10/15/2010 3:29:50 AM , Rating: 2
Nice try avoiding reality... but it didn't work.

Linux is better because it is not targeted as much and because of the open source that allows people to openly discuss and fix flaws.

How is this not obvious? Wear blinders all the time??

Your web work was piss poor OR you are being deliberately biased if you do not accept that the vast majority of the time it is a windows server compromised... which would be fine considering windows market force, IF it were free too!

RE: Windows, the hole filled waste of an OS.
By Luticus on 10/15/2010 11:49:05 AM , Rating: 2
Linux is better because it is not targeted as much
Now you sound like a mac user...

open source that allows people to openly discuss and fix flaws
and for hackers to easily find them... unfortunately open source works both ways.

Windows machines get compromised because they are often poorly configured. You don't know how many times i've seem complete morons make their domain controller a web server as well, or people install exchange on the primary domain controller, or some other dumb crap. If you want to consolidate servers at least virtualize!

hell at one place i worked the people used their server as a freaking workstation and i can't even count the number of viruses infecting their system!

Sad... So sad...

So yes, windows machines are in fact infected more than linux machines, but traditionally if you're smart enough to deploy and manage a linux server then you're smart enough to not get your system infected! on the other hand any idiot can get a windows server up and running, might not be able to administrate it or install things on it or even secure it but they can get it up and running and that's all it takes really.

By mindless1 on 10/16/2010 2:02:13 AM , Rating: 2
How about the simple truth instead of trying to pretend forethought cancels reality?

The reality is, windows is a target. Far far moreso than any other possible choice. Period. Choose to be a target and then you are left with no consolation except hoping your target isn't ever targeted.

Windows is like having a car with the key left in the ignition and the automaker claiming that is more secure than if you only had push button start.

The facts are out there. The most insecure OS on earth is still inherently more secure than windows just because it isn't windows... Those who don't have a target painted on their backs, need not run from fire when others do.

"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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