Internet Zombie Networks Spread Email Spam

In the last two years Zombie viruses have become among the most prevalent type of computer virus.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ They are called “zombie” because they stay dormant until activated by a signal over an internet connection.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Once activated they use your computer to send out junk email. They try to collect credit card information or other private data by “phishing”.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ The fake email appear as if it’s from a bank. Usually it will request that the recipient update their personal account information.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ The email provides bogus links for the user to click. The links lead to servers setup to imitate the forged sources web site. When a person enters their account information, they are sending it directly to internet scammers.

Spreading internet viruses, once the hobby of teenage computer nerds, has now become big business for organized cyber criminals.�¯�¿�½ When your computer is infected by a zombie virus, it can be activated remotely to send out fake emails.�¯�¿�½ Last year CipherTrust estimated that the majority of phishing emails originated from multiple networks of approximated 500 to 1000 trojan infected zombie machines each.�¯�¿�½ Criminal organizations lease their zombie networks by the hour to distribute spam emails around the globe.�¯�¿�½ Hackers have joined forces with spammers.

Oddly enough, in the last two years it has been widely acknowledged that among the largest sources of zombie infected machines are Comcast broadband subscribers.�¯�¿�½ Like many internet service providers, Comcast did not require that outgoing email pass back through its servers for verification.�¯�¿�½ As a result, out of 800 million emails sent from Comcast, the source of 700 million emails was unverifiable.�¯�¿�½ That email could potentially be bogus spam injected by zombies.�¯�¿�½ Some other internet providers, like Earthlink for instance, do require that outgoing mail pass through their servers.�¯�¿�½ They can monitor how much email their customers send.

Internet security firm CipherTrust identifies about 175,000 new infected zombie machines each day. In the last year, the majority of new zombies has shifted from the United States to China.�¯�¿�½ Last year the United States was in the leading position. The United States is now in the number two spot with 14% of the total zombies detected. China currently originates 20%-30% of the zombie viruses detected. South Korea and Germany are next in line.�¯�¿�½ The percentages change by the hour.�¯�¿�½ As the use of computers in China grows, so does the number of zombie computers affected. �¯�¿�½

Stopping the spread of zombie viruses means stopping the virus infected trojan programs from getting inside computers.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Companies that provide email services should require than all outgoing email pass back through their servers before being delivered. If the service provider monitors the mail being sent, they can block delivery when spam is first detected. If a user typically sends 10 to 20 emails a day, and starts sending 1,000 an hour, that’s a signal that something is probably wrong. The email can be held until the user has been notified.

Individuals can help prevent the spread of viruses by using virus checking software on incoming and outgoing mail. That alone will not ensure that a machine is virus free and not operating as a zombie.�¯�¿�½ A periodic scan for spyware is necessary.�¯�¿�½ A frequent scan of the hard drive for hidden trojans is good practice.�¯�¿�½ The proper use of an Internet firewall is key. Windows XP users should install Windows XP Service Pack 2 for the added firewall protection it provides.�¯�¿�½ Internet Explorer is much less likely to become infected if Service Pack 2 is installed.�¯�¿�½ In a commercial environment more sophisticated firewall protection is commonly used.

Always keep and eye on your computers operation.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ If your computers performance seems to become unusually slow and sluggish, it’s a good idea to scan for spyware and viruses.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ The most common computer viruses are sent as email attachments. Many computer viruses attach themselves through your browser while you surf the web.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ They can load automatically as Java applications, or use Javascript to alter your browser configuration.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ It’s a good idea to use the highest security settings available, and only give permission to load applications from web sites you are certain are authentic.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Don’t let a virus sneak in through an open back door.

Below are links to a few top rated anti-virus and spyware removal tools. They were selected because they are free or have a free trial version available.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ A few vendors provide free updates.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Others require a fee to obtain updates containing the latest virus protection data.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ It’s a good idea to scan your computer with more than one virus protection program.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ If you are new to virus protection software, try the free versions first, then select one of the subscription-based programs that allow you to update your virus definitions frequently.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Each of the programs listed has its own strengths and weaknesses.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ By using a combination of programs you are more likely to catch a hidden culprit.

These days it is rare to find a machine that has not been infected by some form of spyware or adware.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Unless you already check for viruses and spyware, chances are that your machine is infected.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ These programs will help you locate it, and remove it easily.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½ Don’t let your computer become an Internet zombie.

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