'Shocking' new zombie internet threat

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An average of 172,009 new zombies surfaced on the internet every day this month, according to recently released research by CipherTrust.

CipherTrust's new online ZombieMeter tracks zombie activity around the world in realtime, based on data from its customers' IronMail email security appliances. Zombies are compromised systems used by intruders to send spam, phishing emails, or launch denial-of-service attacks.

The number of new zombies each day is "quite shocking", said Dmitri Alperovitch, CipherTrust research engineer. The total number of zombies is significantly larger, making zombies one of the most critical security challenges on the internet, he said.

About 20 percent of the new zombies this month originated in the U.S. while 15 percent originated in China. Over the past three months, the U.S. and China have traded the lead spot in the number of zombies, researchers said. Twenty-six percent of the new drones in May came from the European Union.

In the U.S., there are a lot of home PCs with broadband connections that are not properly secured, resulting in the high number of zombies, Alperovitch said.

CipherTrust launched the ZombieMeter in order to illustrate how bad the problem is and to help law enforcement officials track down the criminals behind the activity, he said.

The ZombieMeter can be viewed at www.ciphertrust.com.

As reported in SC Magazine earlier this week, the Federal Trade Commission launched an international war on the growing army of zombies and their spam masters.

Copyright © SC Magazine, US edition
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