Operation Spam Zombies

By Derek Sooman on May 25, 2005, 8:07 PM
Zombies, or hijacked computers, are all over the net now. These are compromised machines that have been taken over by Trojans and other malicious code and are used in botnets to do denial of service attacks and to fire out spam in huge quantities. The spam that's hitting your mailbox right now probably did not come from the sendmail server of some spammer - it probably came from another user's PC, out there on the net, its owners completely unaware that they are being used in this way.

The Federal Trade Commission, Department of Commerce, Department of Homeland Security and 33 other agencies from over 20 countries want this stopped. They have joined together to form "Operation Spam Zombies", a new initiative to help ISPs and users prevent computers from being compromised by spammers. Several tactics are to be employed, such as blocking port 25 that is used for outgoing e-mail, applying rate-limiting controls for e-mail relays, identifying potential zombie machines, and providing customers with trojan-removal tools.

"Computers around the globe have been hijacked to send unwanted e-mail," said Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "With our international partners, we're urging Internet Service Providers worldwide to step up their efforts to protect computer users from costly, annoying, and intrusive spam zombies."

User Comments: 3

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driverjosh said:
The news is great about spreading panick about just stupid things. And the best I saw was a Wireless network sniffing scare. War driving had a special on the news why not spyware? If you are going to raise panic or peoples already deep fears of having there information stolen do it for a more common way. Spyware and other mal code I think are more commonly linked to identity theft than war driving. These people need to be less worried about someone cruisin for a free net connection as they do about Mal code. How long could I sit sniffing packets from someones wireless network and get meaningless crap? all my life. I drop on a simple key logger and run a search through the log bang any info I want. Maybe morons would take the "trust content" box more seriously after that, huh?
phantasm66 said:
I think that the issue at hand in this particular story is not war driving or that Spyware is not important (and we have done stories on Spyware and will continue to...) it is that people' machines are being used to spread spam over the net, and that's bad. its bad for the people getting the spam (you and me) and its bad for the people who's machines are being compromised (again, potentially you and me.)If you would rather see more stuff on spyware, I'd be happy to report on it. it is an increasing problem as you say, so we will certainly continue to pay attention to it.I think that there is something about spyware that touches the consiousness of people who don't generally think too much about real security issues. There' something almost insulting about it personally, and I think that's why people are angry about it and people such as yourself want to know more about it and hear about it getting stopped.By the way the goals of war driving, at least in my opinion, would be different from spyware, incidently. its not about sifting through wireless packets looking for important data, its about stealing people's broadband access by joining the network with a laptop and potentially stealing data through hacking file shares and so forth.
driverjosh said:
I like the spyware articles and hearing about the latest Mal. ware etc. but the point of my post was not anything about the news on TechSpot. I love TS and have been a reader for years now. The post was more about my local news stations (TV) and the "investigative reports" they run. Its just funny that they would run a story of the least likely to infect people.just my .02
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