McAfee: More attackers seeking money, zombies

McAfee researchers say that attempted bot attacks jumped by more than 300 percent during the second quarter of 2005.

Attackers are becoming increasingly aggressive as they look to grow their zombie armies of infected PCs, according to antivirus vendor McAfee. On Monday, the company reported that the number of systems infected with malicious software that allows the PC to be used for unauthorised purposes jumped by 303 percent during the second quarter of 2005 from the previous quarter.

Whereas high-profile attacks such as the MyDoom worm in 2004 generally left no doubt as to whether the user's system was infected, attackers are now using more subtle techniques, often invisibly seizing control of a machine with tiny programs called "bots" that await instructions from their creators, according to Vincent Gullotto, vice president of McAfee's Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team.

These bots allow the infected machine, sometimes called a "zombie," to be used for a variety of illegal purposes, such as sending spam or participating in a denial of service attack against a Web site, Gullotto said.

"You're not hearing about a major outbreak every month, but people are not aware that there has become a much more subversive way that virus writers are spreading around the Internet," he said.

Researchers with Gullotto's team recorded nearly 13,000 cases of attempted bot hijackings, up from about 3,000 during the first quarter of 2005. The company also reported that the number of adware and spyware programs was up 12 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2005.

Though McAfee says that all sorts of criminals are now involved in hacking, the company has noticed that money, rather than fame or notoriety, has increasingly been a motivating factor in attacks.

Rather than crashing users' systems or sending out huge quantities of e-mail, attackers are using malicious software such as the Mytob worm to install adware on personal computers. And organised criminals are emerging as a new and increasingly effective source of sophisticated attacks, Gullotto said.

"There's a whole new ballgame that's being played."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?