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04 March 2009, 12:00

Five per cent of all company PCs infected with bots

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Damballa, a security services provider, has published a studyPDF that says three to five per cent of all company systems are infected with bots. According to Damballa, anti-virus software frequently affords no protection against infection because the response of anti-malware lags behind the introduction of new threats, so the detection rate when new bots appear is only around 53 per cent. Over time the rate then improves to 85 per cent as anti-virus programs add new signatures.

The study says that on average 54 days go by before a bot is detected. Even after 180 days, 15 per cent of infections remain undiscovered. Companies are reported to be particularly vulnerable to the botnet problem due to several factors, including poor detection. One Damballa client reportedly observes one hundred new bot infections on their systems every day. Damballa says anti-virus software must be supplemented by monitoring network traffic, in order to detect communications between bots and their command-and-control server.

Faced with a surge in botnet problems, the Australian Internet Industry Association launched National Zombie Awareness Week at the beginning of the week. The aim of the exercise is to encourage companies and private users to be on the alert for PC infections and take preventative measures. On the Zombie Awareness Week web page, it says a PC infected by a bot and turned into a zombie cannot be tolerated because the result is often thousands of spam emails being put into circulation and attacks on other PCs.


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