If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy
James Madison (American 4th US President (1809-17), and one of the founding fathers of his country. 1751-1836)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Malware and the latest BOTNET discussion

In reading and article at Infoworld entitled "Half of pirated Vista is malware" I began to recall the reports of the same nature regarding XP. The reports that bootleg versions of XP out on the file sharing circuit were in fact modified versions with malware / trojans / and virus' added to them. Much of which, then and now, I am sure is true, but then I started to think about another article I read earlier yesterday at BBC UK, The internet is doomed, and I really started wondering about the link. Wondering my ass...hell I think most people know that file sharing via P2P, Torrent, and other sources have been the primary distribution of Trojan's, Malware, and Virus' for years...second only to email. All these methods playing on two of the major shortcomings that all people have, "FREE" and "Watch This".

When someone is downloading a movie, software, music, or programs...they are caught up in the fact that they are getting something for "Free" and also feeling the rush of doing something illegal. All the while they aren't too overly concerned that what they are downloading contains any number of the types malware mentioned previously. I would wager that some of the more novice folks that fall in this group of file snaggers is running a version of a long since expired version of an anti-virus program, if any type of AV at all. I imagine if they are running an it working correctly or has it been deactivated for being an illegal copy. The same can be said for movies, mp3's, games, and so many of these too are loaded with malware.

In regards to the "watch this" trap...well...who doesn't want to be entertained. So, when that email comes in with the title of "funny video", "boobies", or "elephant swimming" most of the population will open it. I would wager that most would open it one to check it out...two to be the first to forward it to their friends...every single one of their friends. If I don't recognize the email address I generally won't open the attachment...if I do...I will download it and scan it first. Thus, why I have friends that forward me stuff from their work...will always ask...did ya see what I sent ya. Well...when I answer no...there is a fit...then they get over it. Anyhow...this all leads the recent report on BOTNETS.

In reading the previously mentioned article(s), "The internet is doomed" and another article by the same author "Criminals 'may overwhelm the web'", and you really can't help but assume that the two methods of malware proliferation and the immense size of the Botnet described in the article(s) are related. Well most seem to KNOW this and well I tend to agree. I have no answers to give in this article, but I want to open this up to discussion here...what can be done to stop the proliferation of malware? You can't or won't stop people from snaggin' can, while not condoning such activity, educate users on the importance of AV and keeping updated. One could even promote the use of malware scanning tools, such as Spybot and Ad-aware...there are others I am sure. We can promote email safety...although I feel that has been done to the point of nausea um, so what would be a better means to get that point across? Share 'em if you got em...let's hear what you have to suggest.

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