"A Botnet is a collection of software agents, or robots, that run autonomously and automatically. The term is most commonly associated with malicious software..." "...this word is generally used to refer to a collection of compromised computers (called zombie computers) running software, usually installed via drive-by downloads exploiting web browser vulnerabilities, worms, Trojan horses, or backdoors, under a common command-and-control infrastructure.
A botnet's originator (aka "bot herder" or "bot master") can control the group remotely..." - Wikipedia
"Researchers are hoping to get a better insight on botnets after taking down part of Pushdo, one of the top five networks of hacked computers responsible for most of the world's spam.ITWorld - Botnet takedown may yield valuable data
Thorsten Holz, an assistant professor of computer science at Ruhr-University in Bochum, Germany, said his group is working on an academic paper focused on methods to figure out what type of malicious spamming software is on a computer that sent a particular spam e-mail.
They looked at several of the major spamming botnets, including Mega-D, Lethic, Rustock as well as Pushdo and Cutwail, two kinds of malware that appear to sometimes work together as part of the same botnet"
The above posted for your information. No real commentary.
I think that understanding that the threats are real is critical to understanding why we need to be conscious of access to information, privacy, security, and data management in general.
Understanding that there are people out there using networks to nefarious ends is important to understand why privacy commissioners are beaking off about privacy and security - like in the government Blackberry story I posted previously.
Wired - Botnet Hacker Gets Four Years
March 5, 2009
"A Los Angeles man was sentenced late Wednesday in federal court to four years in prison after pleading guilty last year to infecting as many as 250,000 computers and stealing thousands of peoples’ identities and hijacking their bank accounts.
The Los Angeles authorities said John Schiefer, 27, was the nation’s first defendant to plead guilty to wiretapping charges (.pdf) in connection to using botnets.
Schiefer, who went by the online handle "acidstorm," faced as many as 60 years in prison and acknowledged using a botnet to remotely control computers across the United States. Once in control of the computers, the authorities said, (.pdf) his spybot malware allowed him to intercept computer communications. He mined usernames and passwords on accounts such as PayPal and made purchases totaling thousands of dollars without consent."
Picture credit: Wired - Botnet Hacker Gets Four Years