Microsoft: Over two million PCs in the U.S. part of a botnet

The BBC points us to a rather lengthy 240 page report, published by Microsoft, called the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report. Microsoft collected data throughout the first half of this year and found that the United States has the highest number of computers infected with a virus that places them into a botnet. 

The study found that over two million computers in the U.S. were reported as having a botnet virus, while the country ranked second place, Brazil, had around 550,000 computers infected. Microsoft used the reported results from their Malicious Software Removal Tool which is updated and delivered every month via Windows Updates. 

Though the number infected was highest in the United States, South Korea had the highest percentage of computers infected. 14.6 out of every 1000 South Korean computers are part of a botnet. The US, comparatively, reported in at 5.2 infected computers for every 1000. 

Cliff Evans, head of security and identity at Microsoft UK, said,

The research was undertaken to alert people to the growing danger from the malicious networks. Most people have this idea of a virus and how it used to announce itself. Few people know about botnets. Once they have control of the machine they have the potential to put any kind of malicious code on there. It becomes a distributed computing resource they then sell on to others.

To be sure you aren't infected, you should always keep your computer and your anti-virus up to date. You can also run the Malicious Software Removal Tool from Microsoft. In Windows XP, go to Start -> Run and type "MRT" or in Windows Vista/7 you can type "MRT" in your Start menu search box. 

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22 Comments

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Yea, I almost slapped my friend, had Windows 7 for 4 months, hadnt installed 1 update..

I asked him why?

His reply - 'Updates just open up more vulnerabilities'

Benjy91 said,
Yea, I almost slapped my friend, had Windows 7 for 4 months, hadnt installed 1 update..

I asked him why?

His reply - 'Updates just open up more vulnerabilities'

loooooooool

OK.. First thing first here.
" published by Microsoft, called the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report. "

Can we all say, "Propaganda".
First step in marketing a product, create a reason for someone to need the product.

Enough Said.

nidaros said,
OK.. First thing first here.
" published by Microsoft, called the Microsoft Security Intelligence Report. "

Can we all say, "Propaganda".
First step in marketing a product, create a reason for someone to need the product.

Enough Said.


Except Microsoft already has an AV..and has had it for a long time now..and it's free.

Here's a tin foil hat for you

/- Razorfold said,

Except Microsoft already has an AV..and has had it for a long time now..and it's free.

Here's a tin foil hat for you

here's one for you... You didn't understand what he said. He pretty much said that Microsoft is advertising its AV.

nidaros said,
OK.. First thing first here.
Can we all say, "Propaganda".
First step in marketing a product, create a reason for someone to need the product.

Enough Said.

i think that the reasons to have an anti-virus program installed are already well established

0sm3l said,

here's one for you... You didn't understand what he said. He pretty much said that Microsoft is advertising its AV.


Yeh ok. And what do they plan to get out of it? Money? Oh no wait its free. And they've been publishing security reports for a very long time, since a more secure / virus free Windows will be better for them.

Microsoft should block installing of those pesky toolbar via security update/patches/whatever


it does nothing good but shove crap down the user throat

Yeah, I've seen a lot of crap on peoples computers that they seem oblivious to and have no idea how it got there.

MS can't enforce common sense and be heavy handed when it comes protecting PCs, they have to strike a balance which is getting better. Worse thing for MS is that they only started focusing on security half way through XP which a lot of people must still be using and I doubt many pay attention. I've even seen Vista PCs with loads of updates ready to install but the user just ignores the messages.

I don't know what else they can really do without forcing users down one path. More education of the Window security features which people will probably ignore. Maybe a check list of harmful software which UAC refuses to install.

I'm trying to figure out how my Guild Wars account was hacked on Monday. They got into my NCsoft account which I haven't accessed myself since March 2009. I would like to think they have a loophole or something on their site but either way I lost all my gold, dyes and three sets of obsidian armour.
All tests ran show my PC is clean. When I think about it this PC would never have even logged into their site as it was built November 2009.
When I traced the IP the password reset came from it points to a Windows 2003 server in the US. Owned by smarttix.com. I know this as Exchange Server is running on it. I doubt they did it but I bet their server is being used as a proxy.

Sucks.

Thank you for reminding why I'm so glad I don't work in the consumer space anymore. Enterprise IT has so many effective ways of preventing this kind of idiotic end user behaviour. If you work for an enterprise outfit and still see this kind of thing on the end user desktops, then fill out your resume and get moving, because the key people at the wheel of your infrastructure are clueless.

Not surprising, virtually every computer I repair has not only one, but usually two or more toolbars installed in their IE or other browser. And I'm not just talking yahoo and google toolbars, most are distributed from sites I've never heard of (Malicious Toolbars). So usually my first question to these people are, "Do you use any of these toolbars?" of course the answer is almost always "No". So not only are they slowing their computer down, with 5 toolbars installed they're taking up significant vertical space in their browser. (Slaps Forehead)

Marshall said,
Not surprising, virtually every computer I repair has not only one, but usually two or more toolbars installed in their IE or other browser. And I'm not just talking yahoo and google toolbars, most are distributed from sites I've never heard of (Malicious Toolbars). So usually my first question to these people are, "Do you use any of these toolbars?" of course the answer is almost always "No". So not only are they slowing their computer down, with 5 toolbars installed they're taking up significant vertical space in their browser. (Slaps Forehead)

What you are missing is, that each time people install a program they click next to their heart's content jumping the important part where it says "Install the (Insert Name Here) Toolbar", and then a mysterious and mischievous toolbar happens to be on the browser window cropping space.

warwagon said,
Really? It's that low?
It's probably higher - think of all of the users who have disabled Windows Update (or have it set to manual install). Plus all of the ones with so many viruses/etc that Windows Update no longer works at all.

autobon said,

And your probably wrong..... even though you could probably be right.

Well just look the number of people who have mywebsearch installed. I generally consider those people the dumb ones and 90% of the computers I see have that installed.

Fr3d said,
It's probably higher - think of all of the users who have disabled Windows Update (or have it set to manual install). Plus all of the ones with so many viruses/etc that Windows Update no longer works at all.

are you trying to say that setting windows update to manual makes a computer prone to virus infections? yes security updates help but quite a lot of infections come from stupid users. also what about all those apps that aren't part of the windows update? are they just immune

warwagon said,
Really? It's that low?

I honestly thought that was rather low too. I always assumed the number was MUCH higher.

warwagon said,

Well just look the number of people who have mywebsearch installed. I generally consider those people the dumb ones and 90% of the computers I see have that installed.

Heh. My dad has a problem with it. Somehow that thing still finds it's way onto his machine.