There’s some good news in the never-ending war to stop malicious botnets from turning computers into zombies. As Gerry Smith of the Huffington Post reports:
On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission announced commitments from most of the nation’s big Internet service providers to adhere to a voluntary “code of conduct” to fight botnets. The code calls on the providers to detect whether customers’ computers have become robots—or “bots”—and notify and help customers whose computers are infected.
“If you own a PC, you’ll be significantly better protected against your computer being taken over by a bad actor who could destroy your private files or steal your personal information,” FCC Chair Julius Genachowski said Thursday, as he announced the “code of conduct” suggested by a federal advisory group known as the Communications, Security, Reliability, and Interoperability Council (CSRIC).
It’s estimated that close to 4 million computers are infected with botnets each and every month, so this coordination between the government and private industry is definitely welcome news.
A new report from online security firm McAfee finds that actress Jessica Biel ranks number one when it comes to online searches that can harm users. Reports Ars Technica:
According to McAfee, fans searching for downloads, wallpapers, screensavers, photos, and videos of Biel have a one-in-five chance of ending up at a site that hosts spyware, malware, viruses, adware, spam, or phishing scams. “Jessica Biel screensavers” in particular were very dangerous—almost half of the downloads coming from those sites were malicious.
Forget James Bond and his ilk. Today’s spies use broadband and malware instead of gadgets and brute force. Via the BBC:
An electronic spy network, based mainly in China, has infiltrated computers from government offices around the world, Canadian researchers say. They said the network had infiltrated 1,295 computers in 103 countries.
They included computers belonging to foreign ministries and embassies and those linked with the Dalai Lama - Tibet’s spiritual leader.
There is no conclusive evidence China’s government was behind it, researchers say. Beijing also denied involvement.
Here’s how the snooping appears to have worked:
By installing malware on compromised computers, hackers were able to take control of them to send and receive classified data.
In this case, the software also gave hackers the ability to use audio and video recording devices to monitor the rooms the computers were in. But investigators said they did not know whether or not this element had been used.