Computer virus, trojans, worms: the bad guys have won.
"The bad guys have won," my computer guy told me after he'd looked at my laptop (which is my recording studio and my graphics program headquarters). I had two viruses - one called "alureon.co" and the other called "obfuscater" (or something like that). The purpose of the second one is to hide the first one. They are supposed to lie on my computer, unseen, and log keystrokes and get access to bank accounts, etc. but something went wrong and they wrecked my hard drive instead, so I couldn't boot up.
My computer guy says there is nothing that can be done to protect a computer using Windows or Vista or any Microsoft operating system. He is advising everybody to go to Linus or Apple. Unfortunately, the programs I use every day are not available in non-Microsoft form...
He sounds a little like a fanatic when he says the Chinese computer hackers are thoroughly conversant with the contents of our military computers. But this morning in the New York Times:
Malicious Software Infects Corporate Computers
By JOHN MARKOFF for the New York Times, February 18, 2010
A malicious software program has infected the computers of more than 2,500 corporations around the world, according to NetWitness, a computer network security firm.
The malicious program, or botnet, can commandeer the operating systems of both residential and corporate computing systems via the Internet.
Such botnets are used by computer criminals for a range of illicit activities, including sending e-mail spam, and stealing digital documents and passwords from infected computers.
In many cases they install so-called "keystroke loggers" to capture personal information.
Currently Shadowserver, an organization that tracks botnet activity, is monitoring 5,900 separate botnets.
The Kneber botnet [links] infected systems. The purpose appears to be to gather login credentials to online financial systems, social networking sites and e-mail systems, and then transmit that information to the system's controllers.
The botnet has been able to compromise both commercial and government systems, including 68,000 corporate log-in credentials.
It has also gained access to e-mail systems, online banking accounts, Facebook, Yahoo, Hotmail and other social network credentials, along with more than 2,000 digital security certificates and a significant cache of personal identity information.
"These large-scale compromises of enterprise networks have reached epidemic levels," said Amit Yoran, chief executive of NetWitness and former director of the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security.