VOLUNTEER INTERNET POLICE OUTFIT Microsoft has begun the process of wiping out the Waledac botnet, a notorious spam network that rained down missives about all kinds of scams onto Hotmail users.
The firm said that Waledac had been one of the largest botnets in the US and a major spam producer. It is esimated that it was made up of hundreds of thousands of infected computers and could have sent over 1.5 billion spam emails a day. For example, in eighteen days in December last year, approximately 651 million spam emails were indentified as coming from Waledac to Hotmail accounts alone. That is one hell of a lot of dodgy adverts.
The Waledac botnet takedown began earlier this week in an operation known as "Operation b49", and according to Microsoft it is the result of months of both investigation and technical preparation. Months in the planning maybe, but the moves this week have had a quick effect.
In a Technet post Tim Cranton, associate general counsel at Microsoft, said, "At Microsoft, we don't accept the idea that botnets are a fact of life. We are a founding member of the Botnet Task Force, a public-private partnership to join industry and government in the fight against bots. That's why I'm proud to announce that through legal action and technical cooperation with industry partners, we have executed a major botnet takedown of Waledac, a large and well-known "spambot." Take that, Waledac.
This is the result of a court decision that granted Microsoft the right to cut off 277 Internet domains believed to be run by criminals associated with Waledac. However, the work is not over and Microsoft urged Internet users to protect themselves or risk becoming enablers for such cyber criminals.
"Three days into the effort, Operation b49 has effectively shut down connections to the vast majority of Waledac-infected computers, and our goal is to make that disruption permanent," added Cranton. "But the operation hasn't cleaned the infected computers and is not a silver bullet for undoing all the damage we believe Waledac has caused. Although the zombies are now largely out of the bot-herders' control, they are still infected with the original malware. To help make sure you are not infected by this or other botnets, our advice is to follow the 'protect your PC' guidance." µ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score