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Infected Windows PCs Now Source Of 80% Of Spam

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the targets-of-opportunity dept.

Spam 778

twitter writes "The Register is reporting a study by Sandvine.com that blames Microsoft Zombies for 80% of all spam. The study goes on to claim that 90% filtering is not effective given the unprecedented volume and that sophisticated trojans are able to drop spam directly on end user's computers despite current efforts. Just another cost of supporting Microsoft, I suppose."

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778 comments

That does it! (5, Funny)

ChadAmberg (460099) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364193)

OK, I'm turning SpamAssassin down to .01 points and letting it all get rejected. I just give up!!!

Re:That does it! (5, Funny)

autolycos (720587) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364226)

No, just wait til the newest version of Windows, Microsoft Fence Knotholes. Really, that'll stop spam.......

Re:That does it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364360)

Heheheh...I heard that the full name of this particular puff of nether-vaporware was Fence Using Copyrighted Knotholes. Go, Redmond!

Not FP. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364196)

Come on, this story's been here for ages... and not even a FP troll? Man, this sucks...

Is this suprising? (1, Insightful)

blane.bramble (133160) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364200)

Microsoft Windows is on 80% of desktops or thereabouts. Microsoft Windows is responsible for 80% of spam. Seems fairly obvious to me.

Re:Is this suprising? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364229)

Even if Linux or Mac was 80% the of desktops, you would still have people not bothering to patch their computers, and have the same problem. It might be as easy to infect the computers, but the problems would still be there. Stupid users will exist no matter what operating system you give them.

All the ISPs are going to start filtering outbound port 25. If you want to run your own mail server you'll have to route it through their mail server, or use non-standard port number to route thru a 3rd party mail server.

Re:Is this suprising? (1)

offpath3 (604739) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364250)

The problem with this logic is that it assumes that 100% of all spam is being sent from desktops. I'd have to say I think some spammers are still using big servers out there...

Re:Is this suprising? (5, Insightful)

djh101010 (656795) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364258)

Seems fairly obvious to me.

Yes, but the other 20% aren't coming from compromised non-windows systems, they're being sent by spammers who know they're sending it. If the other 20% were coming from trojan'ed *nix boxes, then I'd say you're on to something.

Fact is, 4 out of 5 emails that end up in my spam bin are there because (a) some sleaseball wrote a trojan to deliver them, and (b) someone else wrote a trojan-friendly OS to enable it in the first place.

I understand that some ISPs are now cutting off infected folks until they can show they've patched. I think that we'll be seeing more of this, and I can't say I disagree (as long as they understand what a Unix, Linux, or MacOS box is).

MOD PARENT DOWN, FAILED TO BASH MICROSOFT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364284)

YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED

Re:MOD PARENT DOWN, FAILED TO BASH MICROSOFT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364328)

I love slashdot, it is much better than Cats. I will read it again and again.

I love slashdot, it is much better than Cats. I will read it again and again.

Re:Is this suprising? (4, Insightful)

PerryMason (535019) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364296)

Yes it is surprising. Traditionally spam has come from mail servers that were setup as open relays (by accident or design) but nowadays its coming from Windows desktop machines with viruses which setup their own mail servers. Combine that with the growing prevalence of broadband home connections and spam is just getting worse and worse.

Re:Is this suprising? (5, Insightful)

Adhemar (679794) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364302)

Microsoft Windows is on 80% of desktops or thereabouts. Microsoft Windows is responsible for 80% of spam. Seems fairly obvious to me.
It isn't obvious. At all. In earlier years, spam was sent by spam hosts owned by spammers.

By "spammers" I mean those people who knowingly and deliberatly distribute spam, and usually make money by doing so.

The hosts and the networks they were connected to became discovered and mail coming from those hosts and networks was treated suspicious by black-list-based filters.

So the spammers use more and more infected zombie PCs. Microsoft Windows is on 80% or more of the desktops. And now these Microsoft Windows-based infected zombie PCs are sending 80% of spam, according to the article

However, this does not mean (which would contradict your "this is obvious" logic) that the x% MacOS X-based, Linux-based and *BSD-based PCs are as easily infected and effectively sending x% of the spam.

NO... (5, Insightful)

vwjeff (709903) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364364)

Just another cost of supporting Microsoft, I suppose.

Just another cost of supporting users who install the software. Most of these hijacked Windows boxes are a result of a user wanting to see Britney Spears naked.

CLICK HERE--ALL NEW PICTURES OF BRITNEY SPEARS NAKED

This has nothing to do with Windows security other than running an ignorant user as an administrator.

Re:Is this suprising? (1)

no longer myself (741142) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364382)

I'd like to think that MS Windows was losing a little more ground, but I think they're still well above 90% at the consumer level. (No really, I don't have anything against MS... I just think that monoculture is probably not the best path on the global scale.)

Actually, if you think about it, you have to wonder what other systems account for the other 20%... Seriously... Most alternative computer users (eg *nix, Mac, etc...) are less suceptable to being "p0wned", and their users are too busy trying to get legitamate work done to be messing about with the menial task of spreading spam.

I'm only guessing, but spammers (for lack of any better talents) probably use MS Windows too (but not the "zombie" kind) to hurl out their pitards. If you take that into account, spam can probably be traced back to an MS Windows machine nearly 100% of the time.

I will confess: Like most statistics, these are just my personal observations, and have no known degree of accuracy.

First Post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364201)

First Post. Wow! or not ...

Obligatory (3, Insightful)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364204)

Was this really actually a surprise to anyone or was this just confirming the obvious?

Re:Obligatory (0)

stokkie (628016) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364331)

It's just to make the techies feel better about their precious Linux/Unix systems. Forgetting that a whole lot of the IT industry makes money thanks to MS' (not always stable and reliable) software. What is there to support if nothing fails?

Will only get worse (2, Interesting)

stewart.hector (87816) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364206)

When XP Bug patch 2 comes out, this suituation will only get worse, since ppl can't patch their dodgy ( illegal) copy of XP.

Re:Will only get worse (0)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364225)

God dammit.. why does this always come up? Every single time Windows and worms/virus/spam article comes up this comes up. You would this it was settled by now. Now this is going to turn into a little pissing match whether thier illegal copy works or not. Thanks for nothing!

Re:Will only get worse (2, Insightful)

z0ink (572154) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364227)

Microsoft needs to offer an update solution that doesn't require checking if the system is legal first. Not letting people patch isn't motivation for somebody to spend hundreds on software they already have, but blatant disregard of the infastructure of the internet as a whole. They allow these machines to stay online and keep the spam flowing.

Re:Will only get worse (4, Insightful)

larien (5608) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364255)

No, the pirates have a blatant disregard of the infrastructure by keeping running insecure, unpatched software. Microsoft should not be held responsible for pirates who illegally run unlicensed software.

Re:Will only get worse (5, Insightful)

tuomasr (721846) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364333)

Well, I tend to agree in some ways an disagree in some. If the problems with Windows security holes and such would only affect the computer in question then I would be all for not allowing the updates to be loaded on a pirated machine but with the current system the legimate users of Windows (and other internet users as well) suffer from the neglicence of the users of pirated software. It doesn't only limit to spam, but also network worms which can be a nuisance with the amount of network traffic they create. I think Microsoft would do a favor to all of the internet with allowing patches to be applied to non-licenses (pirated) versions of Windows.

<bad-analogy> I would compare it to stolen cars. For example, if a car would have a really really serious design flaw that would make it blow up during rush hour taking along with two blocks, would you want the car manufacturer to fix the car even though it was stolen? </bad-analogy>

Re:Will only get worse (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364389)

To further the bad analogy, if a car has faults which make it dangerous to the occupants or third parties, then the police (at least here in the UK) have the power to prevent it being driven until the safety issues are addressed. Similarly any system, whether running legal or pirated software, which has these 'safety' problems should have its internet access privileges removed/revoked until the security holes are fixed.

Re:Will only get worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364306)

Yep at least on the pirated domestic or small business in lower developed countries:

1. MS should realise they are not really giving up revenue as alot of people couldn't afford / wouldn't pay licensing fees neway.

2. MS should be happy to gain market penetration / user base this way.

3. The large pirated userbase encourages organsiations to stick with a platform that users are familiar with.

Re:Will only get worse (2, Insightful)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364343)

Not letting people patch isn't motivation for somebody to spend hundreds on software they already have, but blatant disregard of the infastructure of the internet as a whole. They allow these machines to stay online and keep the spam flowing.

Nope, the software pirates allow the machines to stay online. Microsoft should make a deal with all software vendors to require them to put in code that checks to make sure all the latest updates are applied to the Windows box before you're allowed to install the software. Make the pirates cry in their beer over their stolen copy. If you're too fscking cheap to buy it legitimately then go use a free operating system! Microsoft has just as much right to profit as anyone else does.

Re:Will only get worse (2, Insightful)

Babbster (107076) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364239)

How does it make it worse? If a percentage of Windows installs are upgraded (and presumably stop being "zombies") then wouldn't there be fewer problem computers?

Ah, never mind. It's just a way to complain about absolutely anything Microsoft does. If Microsoft discovered a cure for cancer and gave it away free, some /. reader would complain because all the pill bottles have the MS name on them, giving them a cure-for-cancer monopoly.

Re:Will only get worse (2, Insightful)

daniel_howell (457947) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364330)

The problem is that previously everyone (legal or not) _could_ update their PC. Obviously not everyone did so, which is why the vulnerable machines are still out there.

Now that a significant number of machines can't be patched you can expect the percentage of vulnerable machines to increase. This will inevitably increase the load borne by all the legitimate machines. As time goes on and more vulnerabilities are announced it will get worse, since almost all illegal PCs will be ripe for Zombie-hood.

I can see why Microsoft would want to prevent illegal machines from getting "functionality" upgrades, but it makes no sense at all to prevent them from getting security upgrades. Zombie PCs hurt Microsoft's legitimate paying customers.

The patches for these viruses are already out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364241)

And these people are obviously not patching their machines anyway.

Re:Will only get worse (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364243)

How is that conclusion tied to the release of SP2?

The release of Windows XP SP2 will make illegal copies spread more spam? :-S

Re:Will only get worse (1)

AgntOrnge (718563) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364246)

Well then maybe they should have bought it in the first place. As for the price, you can get an OEM copy for less than the price of two video games anymore. And it's not like you buy an OS every year.

Re:Will only get worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364311)

Put that in figures that a cheapass could understand...like blank CDs.

Windows XP cost x number of blank CDs.

Re:Will only get worse (3, Insightful)

sploo22 (748838) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364247)

When XP Bug patch 2 comes out, this suituation will only get worse

No, it'll just fail to get much better. There's no way a bug patch can make it worse...

Come on MS, prove me wrong! I dare you!

Re:Will only get worse (2, Interesting)

larien (5608) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364287)

Back in the NT days, I heard a rule of thumb; "always avoid even numbered service packs". Having not been responsible for any number of win2k systems for many years, I can't say how true that is now, but I do remember that NT sp2 & sp4 introduced just as many problems as they fixed and sp6 was withdrawn after a few days because of issues (Lotus Notes being a major one, IIRC).

In summary, I'm waiting a few weeks between sp2 coming out and installing it on my PCs just in case.

Re:Will only get worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364256)

It would help the situation if they patched 'em wouldn't it, patched 'em good!!!!!! Mha Ha Ha....

Re:Will only get worse (5, Insightful)

chrisjwray (717883) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364268)

If somebody is naive enough to allow their PC to be used as a zombie, I can't really see them rushing out and installing service pack 2. MS should introduce some commercials or something to tell Joe Average that he should patch his windows.

Re:Will only get worse (3, Interesting)

mobiux (118006) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364341)

I guess I have to disagree with you on this one.
Most people are using the OS that thier computer shipped with, whatever HP or Compaq or Dell put on there.

The people who are using a pirated copy, more that likely know enough about computers to actually keep a computer clean.

It's the other home users out there, joe blow, who gets his cable modem, his new PC and leaves it on all the time. That's the guy they are refering to in the article. Not someone involved enough to actually track down a pirated copy of XP, get a serial that works, and spend the time upgrading.

Not really (1)

Biotech9 (704202) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364355)

The people that have dodgy copies of Windows are probably smart enough to get change thier key and get patched, and they are probably smart enough to have a firewall running.

Its the people that buy a standard configuration Dell and throw it on the net as soon as they get home that are probably responsible. No Firewall, no Anti Virus, no clue.

Re:Will only get worse (2, Insightful)

blowdart (31458) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364365)

Why? Did it get worse when SP1 came out? That didn't install on pirated keys either.

It's only the service packs that won't install. Users can still install individual updates, these are still presented by WindowsUpdate and they are still downloaded by the automatic update service. In fact the automatic update service will never download a service pack, just individual security patches.

Not suprised (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364209)

I get 4 or 5 NetSky infected e-mails every day. I wish people would quit using Windows. It's unsanitary. Kinda like using used needles for shooting up.

Windows users: Please learn Linux or buy a Mac. Thanks.

Re:Not suprised (3, Insightful)

Spad (470073) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364236)

The simpler solution would be for them to get a clue.

I run Windows and there is only a single (known) exploitable security vulnerability - and that's only because Microsoft won't release a patch for it and the workaround is too messy for me to want to bother with it as I'm not stupid enough to fall "cleverly crafted" URLs.

Windows can be almost, if not as secure as Linux or OSX if you just know what you're doing and keep up to date with the patches.

Re:Not suprised (1)

JazzHarper (745403) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364308)

I would agree, since you've left a lot of room for interpretation. For starters, "just know what you're doing" would have to include not using any MUA or web browser that comes with Windows.
--

Re:Not suprised (2, Funny)

WhiskerTheMad (765470) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364373)

Ah, yes. Because we have all kinds of time to keep up with Windows updates. In fact, I find myself scanning windowsupdate.com, forlornly pining for new patches, because my life is so bitter and empty, and downloading patches is the only bright spot in my dreary existance.

Oh, wait, never mind. I just Firewall-And-Forget(TM). Run my windows box behing three layers of security, and I don't have to worry so much about getting patches the second they come out.

Linux Users: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364262)

Please learn to like women.

Thanks.

Woman Users: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364312)

Please learn to like your hand.

Thanks.

Re:Not suprised (5, Insightful)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364318)

"Windows users: Please learn Linux or buy a Mac. Thanks"

This is always the solution that comes up. There are a couple reasons why Microsoft is always picked on for virus/worms.

1. They are the single most popular operating system to date. Therefore they have the most users and giving the spammer/cracker more chances to get personal info or crack their system.

2. Most Microsft users are users that do not always keep up with patches or updates to their system. Most really don't understand why they would have to do it. Not only that, because most new users start with Windows, it's easy for them to fall for most of the phishing attacks as well.

Now, will all of that said above if, hypothetically, everyone switched over to Linux or Mac OS I'm not sure it would change much. You can talk about how secure Linux and Mac are, but they STILL are only as secure as the user wants it to be. I could still see many new users run as root all the time, open unknown files and the rest of the tips that they teach you NOT to do on Windows. Just because you don't see any Linux viruses doesn't mean they don't exist. The fact is that most people who are USING those OSs are a bit smarter and care more about security than your average Windows user that these worms/viruses/spams are being sent to.

Re:Not suprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364353)

I use windows every day for work, it would quite literally be impossible for me to do my job using any other OS. This is the fact for many many people and telling them to stop using windows isn't going to solve the problem - we don't have a choice. Even if it were possible to use a different OS I'd still have to use what my company provides. Then, suggesting all these non-techy people migrate to other OS's you'd still have to educate them about how to keep their systems secure. In this case it's the users and not the OS that's at fault.

I'm not in any way trying to say that windows is better or worse than any other OS - that's rather irrelevant here.

What you need to do is educate the people who have you in their mailing lists on how to clear up their infections and prevent from being infected in the future. It would take far less time and effort and much cheaper to do this than to re-train them to use a different OS if that were even possible.

Well I spam with my G5. (1)

1337 Apple Zealot (720421) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364210)

Dual 2Ghz G5 processors, gigabit connections and a lot of cherry soda means I spam like kings!

you are one sick wacko (-1, Flamebait)

Kamerynn (726494) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364280)

You are one sick wacko. I hope you aren't an adult yet and that your mental health will improve during what's left of your teenage years.

Re:Well I spam with my G5. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364334)

It was a joke people!

Yes and (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364212)

90% of all statistics are invented. Especially when they bash Microsoft, but certainly not any ones that indicate anything good about Microsoft.

Mod parent up. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364272)

Shame on the submitter, and shame on timothy. Mod parent up, I don't have points today.

Re:Yes and... even worse (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364276)

It also appears that 97% of statistics about statistics are invented too! Oh my

Re:Yes and... even worse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364350)

Actually it's about 45%.

I JUST found this out, can you believe that?

Re:Yes and (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364277)

I can't tell if you are being sarcastic or not. Microsoft pays companies all the time to review their products and most of them use statistics to indicate that their products are better than they are.

So instead of investing all this time and money (4, Interesting)

foidulus (743482) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364215)

in filter research, maybe we should be spending it on educating users in basic protections....or converting the unwashed masses. I like the 2nd one better :P
Please note the sarcasm in the "unwashed masses" comment before modding me as a troll :P

Re:So instead of investing all this time and money (0)

Doktor Memory (237313) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364388)

...or just filter out machines that match windows' tcp fingerprint from your SMTP port.

Yes, you can do this, at least with current versions of pf.

An Idea (2, Interesting)

millahtime (710421) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364218)

Here's an idea to help block spam from these. Don't accept any mail from a block of IPs for residential use. Like all of comcasts home subscribers. Same for ameritech, Road Runner and all those other residential networks. They are under a license agreement to not run a mail server anyway.

I admitt it would be an inconvienamce because I run a mail server like that but it might be worth the pain for less spam.

Re:An Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364238)

Big shops like AOL and Earthlink are already doing this.

Re:An Idea (1, Interesting)

SnowDeath (157414) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364240)

Oh oh, and only accept from certain "white-listed" servers like hotmail.com that use Microsoft email "Stamps", right?

Re:An Idea (3, Informative)

kidlinux (2550) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364322)

Most blacklist services these days list all dynamic IPs for most Internet Service Providers. I get an occasional bounced email because my server is on one of those IPs. Annoying as hell. But at least I can add those kind of hosts to my transport map and have email destined for them routed through my ISP's mail server.

Re:An Idea (5, Insightful)

EJB (9167) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364363)

Many ISP's don't allow you to run a mail "server".
But you're talking about blocking _outbound_ STMP traffic. That has nothing to do with servers.

Outbound SMTP traffic can be generated by any mail server that only listens on internal interfaces, or directly by your favorite mail client.

What you're talking about is breaking the Internet even more than it already is now, turning it into a big client-server network where the servers are operated by the big media companies.

It is also, coincidentally, the lazy sysadmin approach.

Don't do it, don't go blocking big swipes of IP just because some of them do something wrong.

Be smarter, find a way to only block those that do something wrong!

- Erwin

Re:An Idea (5, Interesting)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364387)

Seems like a good idea at first look, but it's not. Here's why: lots of small businesses run their systems on static IPs which ISPs allocate within their dynamic residential netblocks. Without *very* thorough checking it's a bad idea... but who cares right, I mean, you'll just be blocking some small time companies... nobody who matters, right?

I can't send email to *anyone* at AOL now, despite running an OpenBSD firewalled Linux server for our business. It's doesn't even bounce, just disappears into the void. There are *no* Windows worms or spam coming out of my network, but some ass at AOL decided to block the whole ADSL subnet anyway. Nice way to break the Internet guys. And THANKS AOL for replying to my question about it - NOT! The arrogance of IT geeks and uninformed management strikes again. How about thinking a little harder about it, and implementing reverse host checks based on sender address, or rate limiting with temporary blocking - a real email server can cope with that just fine. There's lots of alternatives other than just shutting yourself off from a chunk of the Internet.

I think MS is not the only one to blame (5, Insightful)

FedeTXF (456407) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364220)

If computers are going to be a tool used by anybody, I think along with securing OS's real user education must be encouraged.
Today you have to have a license to drive so why not learn how to play safe if your PC is connected to a public network.

Re:I think MS is not the only one to blame (4, Insightful)

Mz6 (741941) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364254)

Because unless you can convince the government that being an "inconsiderate and stupid" computer user has actually physically harmed another user this won't happen. Now driving is a whole different story.

Re:I think MS is not the only one to blame (1)

grimmr (755375) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364298)

There you go, look at all the problems gov't regulation has solved recently & in the past.

Re:I think MS is not the only one to blame (1, Funny)

slash-tard (689130) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364309)

Users are never going to understand computers well enough, just look at how many people cant set the clock on the VCR. You even have security consultants who know little about real security but instead just work as many buzzwords as they can into a sales pitch or security audit.

Microsoft should send out a patch that makes the default to check and apply updates everyday unless you turn it off. This way all the people that have no idea what windows update is or what security patches do will get patched.

robbIE's pateNTdead PostBlock censorship (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364224)

devise is also STLL infactdead? what's the cost (freedom of speech?) in that, to US?

previously titled:

va lairIE/robbIE answer yOUR questions interview (Score:mynuts won, TrollBait)
by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 07, @10:19AM (#9356075)
is almost ready?

remember, keep it simple. no questions about the monIE, or gnu online dating. the 'answers' have already been prepared buy a cesspool of ?pr firm? hypenosys talknicians, & will be released as soon as the questions match them.

it all seems more like some greed/fear/ego based badtoll, where evile WINds up eating it's young, if you ask US?

this stuff is unbreakable, & wwworks on/in several (more than 3) dimensions.

from a post meant to be titled:

unprecedented evile nearly disempowered, forever?
(score: mynuts won:-) previously PostBlocked(tm) material reposted)

by a disorganized rag-tag team of a few billion near nobodys, using what was available to them, which was almost nothing?

& just who are some of unprecedented evile's local representative(s)?:

The contract was awarded to Accenture, formerly Andersen Consulting, over two competing contractors, Lockheed Martin and Computer Sciences (a veritas (cess)pool of evile stock markp FraUDsters). Several industry executives and analysts said that the award surprised them and that Accenture had widely been considered the outside candidate.

The award also brought controversy. Accenture is incorporated in Bermuda, and some critics attacked the idea of awarding a contract so valuable and important to national security to a company with its headquarters outside the United States.

After Accenture was named, Representative Lloyd Doggett, a Texas Democrat, suggested the company took advantage of an uneven playing field to win the contract over Lockheed Martin and Computer Sciences.

"If companies truly want to contribute to our nation's security, they can pay their fair share of taxes. If they want a slice of the American pie, they had better help bake it," he said in a statement.

A spokesman for Accenture said that the company paid United States taxes.

Representative Richard E. Neal, a Massachusetts Democrat and a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, also questioned the award.

"This decision is outrageous," he said, in a statement. "The Bush administration has awarded the largest homeland security contract in history to a company that has given up its U.S. citizenship and moved to Bermuda. The inconsistency is breathtaking."

the stock markup FraUD/softwar gangster payper liesense hostage grab 'business plan' is looking a little hapless now?

fauxking billyonerrors. sheesh.

lookout bullow. tell 'em robbIE?

all is not lost.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators.... the returns are immeasurable/infinite.

see you there?

Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, anonymous comment posting has temporarily (forever, if we had some ept) been disabled. You can still login to post. However, if bad posting continues from your IP or Subnet that privilege could be revoked as well. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the timeout corner or login and improve your posting . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down (like with fuddle's phonIE corepirate nazi bouNTy hunter scam). If you think this is unfair, we just don't care.

Symptom of the (near) mono-culture (4, Insightful)

larien (5608) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364232)

The fact that Windows is everywhere is why it's such a tempting target; a hit rate of 1% on virus infection of Windows PCs is a good number, so it's worth going after. If linux had a good market share, it would be running the spam zombies.

Yes, linux can be more secure than Windows, but the fact is that over 90% of these zombie PCs could have prevented infection by simply having (a) their firewalls enabled and/or (b) having intelligent users. By default, most linux distros don't come with firewalls enabled either (at least, the last time I checked; I think it's becoming more common for firewalling to be enabled though, as with XP SP2) and as for (b), well, we'll always have stupid users.

Re:Symptom of the (near) mono-culture (2, Informative)

p_millipede (714918) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364290)

My last Linux install was Fedora Core 2 Test 3. I've decided that I don't like Fedora 2 based on it and am going to be putting Mandrake 10 on it soon, but one thing I noticed during install was a secutity configuration dialog with "Enable Firewall" already checked. At least one distro has it enabled by default. I'd guess Red Hat does too (since Fedora is pretty much Red Hat anyway), and probably most of the other large distros do.

Re:Symptom of the (near) mono-culture (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364301)

Yes but the Linux community is much more aware of security problems and if/when it does become more popular with normal users, distros will begin defaulting with better security configurations for the average user. Microsoft for example, could have completely eradicated the problem of Outlook worms several years ago with only a few lines of code or default settings! yes we could have never actually had any Outlook VB script worms if Microsoft had done that! Same goes for IE - popups? few lines of code and it might never have happend, RPC and various other windows issues? most of them were as obvious to Microsoft as a big man-sized airvent would be to a bank-vault designer! Linux might suffer similar targetting if it was number 1 but the developement community would do much more to protect it effectively.

Re:Symptom of the (near) mono-culture (1)

larien (5608) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364383)

Partially, yes; Windows is still suffering a legacy of idiotic design ideas dated from the early 90s when PCs were standalone boxes with no network. At that point, security wasn't really an issue and the internet was a nicer place. Changing some of these parts would probably require substantial rewrite, break a lot of apps and piss off its customers.

IE popups are a standard part of web browsers and Netscape did exactly the same (until Mozilla popup blockers); most other GUI browsers should allow popups; they are required in a number of places (try installing BMC Patrol). You cannot blame MSIE for that as it was (for a change) following web standards.

Despite all the problems in Windows, you don't need to have an insecure system to be exploited. People are stupid and will do all sorts of silly things on the promise of nude celebrity pictures. Besides, even linux has had security flaws which would allow a worm to spread; the lack of these being widespread is as much to do with the low penetration of linux rather than any inherent security by design.

Re:Symptom of the (near) mono-culture (1)

1337 Apple Zealot (720421) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364307)

I maybe a mainly Apple user, but I do dual boot Debian on my G5 and it DOES prompt you to set up your firewall in the install. Same goes for Fedora-ppc. Looks like YOU haven't checked for a long time.

Re:Symptom of the (near) mono-culture (5, Insightful)

bwalling (195998) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364324)

the fact is that over 90% of these zombie PCs could have prevented infection by simply having (a) their firewalls enabled and/or (b) having intelligent users

It's more than that. Why do you need a firewall? Because your computer is sitting there listening for a bunch of crap that it doesn't need to be listening for. Install Windows XP, and then run Microsoft's Baseline Security Analyzer [microsoft.com]. It will tell you that you are about to be fried. Why is that? Why should the user have to be constantly vigilant against threats?

I've yet to see what XP SP2 does, and hopefully it does more than just turn on a firewall. Hopefully, it starts to take things more seriously. Hopefully, Linux starts to as well. It's nice than it can be made to be secure, but it's not exactly simple to do so.

Quit blaming the users for the shortcomings of the developers. You're putting the burden in the wrong place.

Re:Symptom of the (near) mono-culture (5, Insightful)

syphax (189065) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364327)

the fact is that over 90% of these zombie PCs could have prevented infection by simply having (a) their firewalls enabled and/or (b) having intelligent users

Can we change (b) to 'informed' users? It is possible to be intelligent about non-computer matters and still be running a zombie. It's about ignorance, not (necessarily) stupidity.

I continue to skeptical of the apparently widely held opinion on this site that (knowledge about computers/programming/security/[insert specific topic here]) == intelligence.

Re:Symptom of the (near) mono-culture (-1, Troll)

aurelien (115604) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364336)

GNU/Linux distros don't come with firewall enabled cause they don't need it : with no (stupid backdoor) service started like 135 139 445 etc. there is no need to.

"Infected Windows PC's" (4, Funny)

MajorG17 (676534) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364234)

Which translates into Geekish as "PC's Infected with Windows."

Re:"Infected Windows PC's" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364361)

I am shocked that there are apparently still many people who use windows. I feel sorry for them but think that in the meantime everyone should know that windows is no good. I just love my Linux PC.

I have my doubts about this information ... (3, Funny)

cablepokerface (718716) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364237)

I run Windows and there's no sigh that anyone has ever received a spam message from WOULD YOU LIKE A BIG PENIS?! DOUBLE YOUR LENGTH IN 3 WEEKS!! me.

spews (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364244)

So can the spews guys now finally STFU...

if you had asked me.. (1)

voudras (105736) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364251)

to guess what percent was caused by "infected" windows machines i would have replied 60+

so - the problem is worse than i had imagined, but im certianly not surprised.

The mass Windows genocide of 2004 (1, Funny)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364252)

Picks up de-gausser.. Gentlemen, i think you know what we need to do. Kachink.

training (4, Interesting)

millahtime (710421) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364257)

Schools need to start teaching security. Just the idea and what you do. Kids will go home and teach thier parents. And slowly more people will become educated. How else can you educate the masses?

Re:training (3, Insightful)

nfabl (748199) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364352)

Spam is annoying and all, but how about teaching them to read first.

Training (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364269)

Yet another reason why people need some form of training before they use the Internet. You need training to drive a car, but even though computer viruses can be just as damaging if they hit infrastructure, no training is required.

Blocking (1)

o1dm0n (648449) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364274)

Aren't most of the ISPs (roadrunner) blocking smtp traffic from non-static addresses? I would imagine that this cuts down on the majority wouldn't it?

Monoculture (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364292)

Of course it is the case that Windows PCs are extremely vulnerable. When you have a monocluture, vulnerabilities are a logical consequence.

Fight Zombies with DShield (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364294)

One way to fight back against zombies is to submit your data to DShield [dshield.org]. They will correlate it and notify ISPs of the worst offendors.


(Plus, the dshield mailing list is right now talking about using all that data to setup a DNS blacklist).

80% of spam is sent by Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364316)


yeah that's right [spamhaus.org]
but all i see are Americans blaming someone else like China, mayvbe if i put my head in the sand i can do that to

i have an idea,how about those that make the mess clean it up ? (Iraq/Spam/Landmines/pollution/etc etc)

Market share (1, Funny)

barcodez (580516) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364325)

As Microsoft market share on most its products is usually in the mid 90% range they must be somewhat disappointed by this outcome. I'm sure Longhorn will have much better zombie spam machine .NET support.

In other news... (2)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364335)

Weather today will be periods of widespread brightness, followed later this evening by periods of widespread darkness. Also, Bill Gates is still in the list of top 10 richest people in the universe.

Unprecedented rates of infection (5, Interesting)

div_2n (525075) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364340)

I can't speak for all geeks out there (we are usually on the front line), but I have seen so many computers running Windows XP out there just getting raped by adware/spyware/worms/trojans lately. One of the primary culprits? Internet Explorer.

The reason I believe it is Internet Explorer is that I have seen a machine that is behind 2 different firewalls (one of which is a very well configured PIX) get molested. It wasn't used for e-mail, no P2P programs for downloading and nothing else was used except the browser. I am SURE some people were browsing dodgy websites on that machine. So far, it is the only PC on that IP segment that has been infected so it wasn't from another machine.

Anyone else see this out there?

windows (1)

s0m3body (659892) | more than 9 years ago | (#9364346)

i think that windows should be banned from internet

or at least, providers should charge windows users
more for the service, since their spam is using
much more bandwith then my emails and surfing

for everyone who really insist having windows,
would suggest dual boot pc, one partition with
linux for email, surfing, etc; and another one
with windows for playing, video editing, ... whatever else

i'm not trying to do video editing on linux
because there are better tools for windows;
and for the same reason, people should not use
their windows computer for internet, it just sucks

Re:windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364368)

how about we just ban americans ?, they created the problem in the first place (ruining stuff is the american way !! see press for details)

Re:windows (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#9364384)

don't feed the troll...
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