Could your computer be a criminal?
PCs hijacked to send spam, serve porn, steal credit cards. One thousand home computers hijacked and used to serve up pornography. Perhaps tens of thousands co-opted by the “SoBig” virus, many of them turned into spam machines. Hundreds of other home computers loaded with secret software used to process stolen credit cards. If your biggest computer crime fear was lost or stolen files, think again: Someone may be using your PC to commit crimes. A CURIOUS SPAM mail went out and disappeared without much fanfare on June 25. Playing on a familiar prank, the e-mail urged recipients to visit “Windows-update.com” and download a security fix for their computers. Those who fell for the ploy were tricked into downloading a Trojan horse program. The malicious software steered the victim computer into an Internet Relay Chat room, where a computer criminal playing the part of the Pied Piper awaited to issue instructions to the now enslaved PC. Joe Stewart, senior intrusion analyst with Lurhq Corp., played along with the Windows-Update spam. For one hour that day, he was in the chat room, too. And during that hour, he watched as about 800 PCs were drawn in. There, the hacker loaded them with more software, a small “bot” program which could be used by other chat room members. But what for? Full Story