Zombie PCs Lurking On the Internet

It is a scary time for those of us concerned with IT security. Just in time for Halloween comes a report that zombie PCs are spreading their evil about as fast as the rotting-flesh versions do in the movies. According to Microsoft’s Internet Safety Enforcement Team (quoted in the New York Times), it takes less than five minutes for computers to become infected and added to the horde of 300,000 computers worldwide that are already in the thrall of unscrupulous hackers.

Zombie PCs are computers that were then taken over by hackers in order to send out spam, look for private financial information and install malicious software to infect more PCs. Any computer that is used to go online is vulnerable.

As the NYT article suggests, computer owners are well-advised to run commercial malware detection programs, use a firewall and install security patches for operating systems and applications. As well, talk to your trusted IT expert. The more the better. Remember, a hacker has to get to your PC only once.

If all else fails, get the zombie in the head.