The Mariposa botnet

The news is full of the story of the demise of the Mariposa botnet, based in Spain and infecting something like 13 million (!!) computers worldwide.

Defence Intelligence published a report on Mariposa here, the original version of which was available in October 2009. The arrests and dismantling are just happening now, which shows how long it takes to track these things back to their instigators.

The most appalling piece of information to come out is that the alleged perpetrators had “rudimentary” computing skills — in other words, this was a script kiddies botnet. Which shows how vulnerable most of the world’s computers still are, if scripted attacks can be so successful.

At the other end of the scale, yesterday’s news has stories about extensive spear phishing attacks against major corporations that showed evidence of considerable research about their targets.

So clearly there are bad guys at both ends of the sophistication scale — but it’s crazy that resources are still being spent on detecting and preventing attacks at the dumb end.

This isn’t entirely about educating users to keep their machines safe either (although that would help!). Windows seems to have too many holes to keep it afloat, even with the full range of anitvirus, anitmalware, and safe surfing.


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