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Security geeks bring down a network responsible for 12% of worldwide spam

Ripped off from the FireEye site.
In a case of a good-defence-is-a-good-offence, a team of nerds led by a researcher from security company FireEye has just brought down the Mega-D botnet. This particular botnet accounted for some 12 percent of all spam email and was controlled by servers in Israel, Turkey, and the U.S.

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.

It's all about those files you download, or email attachments that you open. Even web-based Javascript injection can do it -- you really should try to surf safely! Once you run the executable or get infected some other way, it turns your computer into a spam robot. The rest, as they say, is history.

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!

Tags: botnet, fireeye, internet, network, security, spam