One third of all PCs infected with hacking software

Discussion in 'Virus Information' started by henry baker, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. henry baker

    henry baker Guest

    It's your PC and you are letting someone else run it.
    It is used for spam, the sale of pirated software, the promotion of porn,
    kiddy porn and phishing scams. In addition, your personal information is
    now in the hands of others - perhaps even your identity has been stolen.
    You are costing the world billions of dollars.

    A new alert was issued today over criminals targeting home computer users.
    Figures published this afternoon showed an astonishing one third of all
    PCs connected to the internet are infected with hacking software.
    The software is often used to steal online banking passwords and credit card details.
    They scanned more than 420,000 PCs and found nearly 134,000 had the
    software, known as spyware, on them. The company believes each computer
    has an average of 30 pieces of spyware on it.

    It's time to license internet use and require a test and "driver's"
    license to use it.
    henry baker, Jun 18, 2004
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  2. henry baker

    BeamGuy Guest

    Better yet....

    We all look to Bill Gates as the guy who gets rich from the sales of PC's, but
    windows XP is a real bargain compared to the internet security barons. Gates
    sells XP for maybe $80 to OEM houses, then supports it for maybe 5-7 years.
    If you buy a good AV product for $40 it will likely be unsupported next year.
    And software firewalls? My zonealarm tells me it will not run with my 2003
    version of trend.

    Not only that - but I bet there are many fewer people in those AV houses
    to share the wealth. Talk about a get rich quick scheme.

    But all this is nothing compared to the $30/month I pay to my ISP to connect
    me to the internet. I often leave my smtp mail on the my isp's server for a
    few weeks or even a month or so as I read them on various computers, then
    finally archive them. When there is a virus in an email message I keep reading
    it in over and over and over again - I guess for $30/month my isp thinks I want
    to have this ability. What does it cost you guys to filter for email viruses on
    your servers - come on give me a break!

    And for $30/month maybe they could give me a little firewall protection.
    Come on guys - what does it cost you guys to put in a firewall. You routinely
    block port 80 after all so that I can't run a webserver and cheat you out of
    your buisness isp price. Block the other ports is obviously just a keyclick

    It is the ISP's of the world who need driver's licenses!
    BeamGuy, Jun 18, 2004
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  3. How exactly did 'they' scam 420,000 PCs ?
    Old news stories. Start by stating what you want the news to be, then find
    the infected PCs afterwards...
    It's time to give us systems that work. Alternatively, design your own
    microchip, write your own OS, your own compiler. Write and compile your
    own programs...
    Johannes H Andersen, Jun 18, 2004
  4. henry baker

    Robert Moir Guest

    Scan 420,000 PCs? Probably with some very quick and dirty tool that just
    noted if it got a response on certain ports, but never checked to see how
    many of those ports were not actually bound to spyware at all, but instead
    were honeypots or legit software that happens to use the same ports as
    spyware, etc.
    Robert Moir, Jun 18, 2004
  5. henry baker

    Phil Weldon Guest

    And exactly who makes these decisions on regulating the internet and to
    issue user licenses? Your reaction in these posts make it seem that you
    just learned of viruses and hackers. Try reading the posts to this and
    similar newsgroups to get an idea of the problems users face and what advice
    is given here and elsewhere. Practical suggests welcome.

    Phil Weldon, pweldonatmindjumpdotcom
    For communication,
    replace "at" with the 'at sign'
    replace "mindjump" with "mindspring."
    replace "dot" with "."
    Phil Weldon, Jun 18, 2004
  6. henry baker

    Mike Guest

    Yo Henry

    Did 'they' use spyware to scan the 420,000 pc's..
    Mike, Jun 18, 2004
  7. Given that "they" is Earthlink, it's likely that this was a reasonably
    simple port scan for the most likely suspects, and is probably in compliance
    with whatever agreement they have with their customers.

    Your paranoia does you credit - when it comes to security, trust no one.
    And because that's functionally impossible, keep a good eye on who you are
    trusting, and what you are trusting them with. Any trust you give to
    someone, assume it may be used to the fullest. If you're an ISP's customer,
    you should probably assume that they will scan you in a relatively
    unintrusive manner to keep their networks - and their other customers -

    Alun Jones [MS], Jun 18, 2004
  8. henry baker

    N. Miller Guest

    And your point is?
    And your point is?
    Have you actually tried to filter email at the server level? When you have,
    come back and tell us just how easy it is to do; for a customer base in the
    There is something of a balancing act there. Port blocking can actually
    restrict permissible activity, if not done with care.
    More like the ISPs need to establish tiered service levels. $29.99 a month
    gets you a basic, entry level service, with restricted port access. $49.99
    will get you an unrestricted, non-commercial account; with the proviso that
    your access will be restricted if you fail to run your computer in a secure
    manner; without the price cut. You can choose either to secure your
    computer, and prove to your ISP that you have done so, or request a change
    to the entry level plan.

    Commercial (business) accounts would start at a higher rate.
    N. Miller, Jun 18, 2004
  9. Greetings --

    While there's no doubt that spyware is a very real threat, let's
    put this article into perspective, shall we?

    First, it was conducted by Earthlink, so only customers of that
    ISP where involved in this "study." Secondly, only those machines
    _not_ already secured by a properly configured firewall could possibly
    have been scanned. So it's not really a third of all household PCs
    that were infected with spyware, but rather only a third of
    EarthLink's less intelligent customers. But even that is too many for
    my taste

    I do agree that it is long past time for people to start learning
    how to secure their computers.

    Bruce Chambers
    Help us help you:

    You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on
    having both at once. - RAH
    Bruce Chambers, Jun 19, 2004
  10. Why should they? Should they also learn to secure their TVs or telephones?
    An internet computer is an appliance that you plug in and use. Most people
    are not technicians and don't care. The system ought to be designed for
    use out of the box.
    Johannes H Andersen, Jun 19, 2004
  11. henry baker

    Mike Guest

    Computers are set up to go straight out of the box.. if people took the time
    to examine the supplied manuals and software, they would find out how to
    activate the XP firewall and set up the 30 day trial anti-virus program..
    there is a good case for vendors to supply information on safe computing,
    but again, getting the user to read it is another story..

    Mike, Jun 19, 2004
  12. henry baker

    Jason Wade Guest

    Earthlink is conducting a spyware audit that uses some spyware-busting
    software that customers can use for free.

    I don't think it has anything to do with portscanning.
    Jason Wade, Jun 19, 2004
  13. henry baker

    taff Guest

    A year or so ago in the UK, mobile phones were being stolen in street
    robberies. Users were advised to not use their phones in quiet or
    badly lit areas. The phone companies then got together and brought out
    a system which made these phones useless to the thieves.

    Phones today. computers tomorrow ?

    Taff......... |
    taff, Jun 19, 2004
  14. "the sale of pirated software"? Agenda clue...
    Fuzzy; "known as spyware"? Which software were they "scanning" for?
    What are the credibility implications of a survey conducted by
    "scanning" other user's PCs without their consent? Do the results of
    (say) port-scanning correlate directly to all malware or just those
    detectable by such means? If the latter, are the raw numbers
    "adjusted" to give the bigger picture? If so, on what basis?
    I believe that usenet doesn't exist, you are all just voices. Not
    voices in my head - I'm not nuts! Voices in my hard drive, I mean.
    Halfway down, I finally find *who* did the survey...

    "The survey on home computers was carried out by internet
    service provider EarthLink and email company Webroot."

    ....with earlier comment that...

    "The Police's National Hi-Tech Crime Unit today
    confirmed it is investigating the problem"

    It's non-news, but a welcome heads-up at that. IOW this is not a new
    problem, but it's definitely a problem that needs more attention.
    No, perfection is not an entrance requirement.
    We'll settle for integrity and humility
    cquirke (MVP Win9x), Jun 19, 2004
  15. Greetings --

    Apparently you've never heard of distasteful, inappropriate, or
    just plain bad, television programs. And has your locale somehow
    missed the bane of telemarketers? ;-}

    I cannot imagine a more unrealistic or dangerous attitude. A
    computer, as a consumer product, should be treated no differently than
    any other potentially dangerous (though not usually, in the case of a
    PC, in the physical sense) consumer product.

    Do people immediately know how to safely operate a motor vehicle,
    "out of the box," as it were, simply by virtue of having purchased it?
    Do people instinctively know how to operate a chainsaw without
    amputating an otherwise useful limb? Even your ordinary, simple
    electric household appliances are dangerous when operated improperly.
    "Why can't I used the blender in the bathtub to foam up the bubblebath

    It doesn't matter what the product is. If a person it going to
    purchase and use it, it's his responsibility to learn how to do so
    safely and responsibility. Your desire to have "big brother"
    corporations dumb-down and cotton-wrap their products to protect
    consumers from themselves is, ultimately, very dangerous. Taken to
    its extreme, we'd end up with a society of helpless infants, incapable
    of doing anything for themselves.

    Bruce Chambers
    Help us help you:

    You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on
    having both at once. - RAH
    Bruce Chambers, Jun 19, 2004
  16. henry baker

    Unknown Guest

    Why should they indeed. Do you wish to perpetuate ignorance? Why should people
    learn anything? Should yhey learn how to read? You don't have to be a
    technician to learn. Yes they should also learn to secure their phones and
    TV's. And I might add the PC's ARE designed for use right out of the box. Of
    course (using your analogy) you have to learn how to plug it in first.
    Unknown, Jun 19, 2004
  17. henry baker

    Robert Moir Guest

    Yes. Such machines are called "Games Consoles" and they are only useful for
    limited things.
    Robert Moir, Jun 19, 2004
  18. Hmmm. Games consoles can't go on the internet AFAIK. But 'media center' is
    probably a step in this direction.
    Johannes H Andersen, Jun 19, 2004
  19. No I didn't wish to perpetuate ignorance. I do think about viruses and
    worms and spam and all that garbage, but I would be happier if I didn't
    have to. I didn't connect to the internet in order to be bogged down
    with something that doesn't interest me. On the contrary, I want to use
    the internet to learn, yes learn about the world and tap into the
    wonderful resources and libraries out there. I do happen to have
    computing qualifications, but it's not just about me; I put myself in
    the shoes of someone who wants to use the internet for the the purpose
    it was intended for.
    Johannes H Andersen, Jun 19, 2004
  20. henry baker

    Max Burke Guest

    Johannes H Andersen scribbled:
    Then your argument is with those people that create and distribute viruses,
    worms, spam, and garbage, not users that use antivirus, anti-spam, and
    anti-spyware software to practice safe hex.....

    You practice safe hex dont you?

    Got any insurance policies on yourself, your car, your home and contents,
    Why do you think you need those? It's to protect yourself against loss,
    damage, theft, and injury. Same reasoning applies when protecting your
    computer from 'threats' to it.

    snip rest....
    Max Burke, Jun 19, 2004
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