By: John Progar
I recently learned the Coreflood botnet is taking a hit and will be brought down. For anyone unfamiliar with Coreflood or what a botnet is, let me explain. First, a botnet is a series of computers that have been taken over by a hacker. He or she uses the compromised computers to launch attacks against web servers, gather personal information, con computer users to make money, or do just about anything the hacker wants on a whim. Therefore the computers are controllable robots that are networked together – botnet.
Coreflood is one of the largest botnets to have ever surfaced and has done enough damage to capture the attention of the FBI and Department of Justice (DoJ). The impressive part of the story is the government’s intervention to bring down the botnet. Most of the time an end-user has to take a defensive roll and very little offensive action is taken. But in a case when millions of computers are compromised someone has to bring the fight to the hacker’s doorstep.
The Internet is a scary place, yet it shouldn’t be and many believe in fighting for a cause to keep the Internet a prosperous medium for communications, commerce, and entertainment. Although we constantly try to improve the Internet many will try to take advantage for their own selfish desires. I for one enjoy using the Internet and accessing its vast amount of services, but I am always keeping an eye out for security leaks and holes.
Bottom line is more so a reminder. Be careful with opening emails from unknown senders, take a moment before clicking on links or opening files that seem unusual, beware of fake pop-up web pages that pretend to be anti-virus or anti-spyware programs, and if in doubt ask! In the case of an unusual email ask the person who sent it and verify the message. If you are surfing the web and see a window open that says your computer is under attack, question it. The fake warnings are typically generic or at times try to impersonate the name brand anti-virus software. I recommend rebooting the computer right away and run a scan with the installed protection software you have (Norton, AVG, McAfee, etc…). Worse case you will need to ask a tech savvy friend, family member, or the awesome I.T. guy/girl at work for help. Those of us in I.T. departments deal with compromises all the time, and if he or she is like me we despise the hacker.
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