Security geeks bring down a network responsible for 12% of worldwide spam
A botnet, if you're not down with script-kiddie hax0r lingo, is a 'bot network'. A bot is a robot -- though 'zombie' or 'compromised machine' is more accurate. In the olden days these networks usually took the form of unpatched Windows machines, but today they rely on user error.
The Mega-D botnet consisted of some 250,000 computers. Consider how many computers it takes to account for the remaining 88% of worldwide spam: well over two million computers, always on, unwittingly generating the trash that fills our inboxes.
The attack, organised by Atif Mushtaq, involved going after the master controllers -- the machines that control those 250,000 zombie robots. You can read the full story of the take-down over on PC World, but in essence it was quite simple: a quick, coordinated shutdown of all their servers, by collaborating with the ISPs hosting the servers... behind Mega-D's back!