Today’s post comes from Norv Leong, Director of Product Marketing at Actiance.
No, I’m not talking about one of America’s most beloved (or perhaps ridiculed) canned foods, but rather, the elimination of about half of the world’s electronic spam recently, thanks to a coordinated effort from several ISPs spread across the globe. Their efforts wiped out and crippled the Grum and Lethic botnets, respectively, which together accounted for about half of the world’s spam. Let that sink in for a moment.
Everybody that has ever touched a computer has likely received some kind of spam in their email inbox. It’s annoying and never seems to go away. Just goes to show that there will always be evil lurking in cyberspace. I’m talking about folks who are solely focused on wreaking havoc, stealing passwords, launching denial of service attacks, or hacking into computer networks of some of the most secretive agencies in the world. Whether they do it for fun, cuz they’re bored, or on someone’s payroll, I do not know.
The bottom line is that all individuals and companies have to be on their guard and not underestimate the importance of having the proper security measures, settings, and policies in place to combat the evildoers out there. Nowadays, the wildfire proliferation of social media and other Web 2.0 sites has proved to be prime hunting ground for spammers (check out a blog entry we did earlier on this topic).
Passing along malware is no longer the domain of email; it’s now spread to sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Skype. One thing that’s different about these sites (vis-à-vis email) is that they require a connection, friendship, or link to be established before you can receive content. That wasn’t the case with email. For instance, if Stevie were to receive a link from his buddy, Timmay, via Skype, Steve’s probably gonna click on that link since he trusts Timmay. That link might not in fact be from Timmay, but rather, from some spammer in Estonia.
So, it’s all well and good that the amount of spam has been cut down for now. But, like Wile E. Coyote’s lifelong pursuit of the Road Runner, I’ll bet a bomb shelter’s worth of Spam that hackers will continue to think up elaborate malware schemes that will make the Grum and Lethic botnets look like starter kits.