Australians go zombie hunting

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A zombie-hunting program has been launched by the ACMA, in a bid to identify infected computers which have Australian internet addresses.

A zombie-hunting program has been launched by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), in a bid to identify infected computers which have Australian internet addresses.

The program, dubbed the Australian Internet Security Initiative, is being trialled by the ACMA.

Under the trial program, the ACMA will work with five internet service providers (ISPs) -- Telstra Bigpond, OptusNet, Westnet, Pacific Internet and West Australian Networks.

The ACMA would let the ISPs taking part in the trial know which internet addresses on their networks had been infected, and the ISPs would then contact their customers to advise them what they needed to do to fix the problem, according to a statement from the regulator.

"If the owner either cannot or will not fix the problem and their computer remains a threat to other internet users, the ISPs may take steps under their acceptable use policy to disconnect the computer until the problem is resolved," according to a statement from the ACMA.

Lyn Maddock, acting ACMA chair, said there were millions of 'zombies' around the world. "Global software companies estimate that more than sixty per cent of all global spam is now relayed via zombies," Maddock said.

The ACMA describes 'zombies' as computers which have been infected by a computer virus or a similar intrusion, including hacking. "Once infected, zombies can be used to commit online crimes remotely from anywhere in the world without the computer owner knowing," the ACMA stated.

"Online crimes include sending spam or hosting offensive material. Owners of the computers may also find themselves paying for bandwidth they did not know they were using."

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