[ISN] 'Botnets could eat the internet'

From: InfoSec News (alerts@private)
Date: Mon Jan 29 2007 - 23:39:07 PST


By Will Sturgeon
26 January 2007

Father of the internet Vint Cerf has warned high-powered attendees at 
the World Economic Forum in Davos that the internet is at serious risk 
from botnets.

Vast networks of compromised PCs, used by criminals for sending spam and 
spyware and for launching denial of service attacks are reported to be 
growing at an alarming rate in terms of their potential and Cerf, now an 
employee of Google, warned they could undermine the future of the 
internet - likening their spread to a pandemic.

Cerf predicted that a quarter of all PCs currently connected to the 
internet - around 150 million - could be infected by Trojans which 
covertly seize control of a computer and its broadband connection, 
handing control of both to remote criminals.

According to Mark Sunner, chief security analyst at MessageLabs, Cerf's 
words of warning are far from scaremongering and the picture is at least 
as serious as Cerf paints it.

Sunner said around the turn of the year security experts were watching 
one botnet, called Spam Thru, which not only had its own antivirus 
protection to clear other botnets off 'its patch' but had the potential 
to be 10 times more productive than most other botnets while evading 
detection because of in-built defences.

He said the most worrying thing about Spam Thru is he suspects a major 
spike in traffic towards the end of 2006 was merely a testing of the 
waters and much worse could be to come - not least when other similarly 
sophisticated botnets appear online.

Sunner added: "With new levels of sophistication this has reached a real 
milestone. Botnets are getting smaller, more stealthy and more discreet 
and yet the volumes of spam are going up.

"Without a hint of scaremongering, will this get a lot worse throughout 
2007 in terms of botnet sending? Absolutely, yes."

Subscribe to InfoSec News

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.3 : Tue Jan 30 2007 - 00:01:45 PST