Bots, an abbreviation of “robots”, are good. Then again, Bots are bad. So which one of those statements is correct? In fact, both are correct – there are good Bots, and there are bad Bots.
Technology, in most cases, is neutral – it’s how we implement technology that establishes its value, and impacts any ethical questions that surrounds its use.
Good Bots include special software such as search engine spiders used by companies like Google, Yahoo and others to find links and content on the Internet. The Internet would not be, and could not be, the Internet we have come to know, and depend on, without these specialized Bots.
Bad or malicious Bots, in contrast, are designed to infiltrate computer systems with the objective of “herding”, or consolidating, systems into so called “Botnets”, whose primary aim is to create a network of compromised computers such as the infamous Storm Botnet (a P2P network), which according to many experts had the power of a supercomputer.
The power of the Storm Botnet was such, that it was responsible for 20 per cent of all spam email sent in the first quarter of 2008.
Many security experts believe that Botnets are responsible for approximately 75 per cent of all spam currently in circulation. Heavily promoted products on all of these Botnets tend to be male enlargement drugs, replica watches and sexually explicit material.
The strategy employed by the owners of these Botnets is particular ingenious, since there’s a strategic crossover with the products being promoted by all five of these Botnets.
Frighteningly it is accurate to say that these Botnets are getting increasingly larger every day. According to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, there are at least 1 million Botnetted computers in the U.S.
Worse, some security firms estimate that currently there are as many as 10 million Botnetted machines worldwide. In fact, some researchers believe that this may just be the part of the iceberg we can see above the waterline.
Not surprisingly such large numbers of infected machines have produced some of the most powerful networked computer systems in the world. It seems sensible to predict, that malware and phishing attacks from these Botnets can be expected to increase in frequency.
For your own benefit, it’s obviously important to keep your computer from becoming infected and becoming a part of this problem. Perhaps it’s less obvious that we all share a responsibly to help protect other computer users on the Internet from becoming infected.
The way to do that is to ensure that you are part of the solution; not part of the problem created by running an unsecured machine, (which means installing as many levels of protection as possible), or by engaging in unsafe surfing practices.
To help you keep your computer from being herded into a Botnet, Trend Micro has released a beta of RUBotted, a small program that watches for incoming Bot related traffic, which is worth considering adding to your security toolbox.
Trend Micro RUBotted (Beta) is a small program that runs on your computer, watching for Bot related activities. RUBotted intelligently monitors your computer’s system behavior for activities that are potentially harmful to both your computer and other people’s computers.
RUBotted monitors for remote command and control (C&C) commands sent from a Bot-herder to control your computer. Additionally, RUBotted watches for an array of potentially malicious Bot-related activities, including mass mailing – a common activity performed by a Bot-infected computer.
RUBotted co-exists with your existing AV software, providing advanced Bot specific behavior monitoring. RUBotted does not rely on frequent, network intensive updates to ensure your computer’s continued protection.
Upon discovering a potential infection, RUBotted prompts you to scan and clean your computer.
Operating System requirements:
Windows 2000 Professional (Latest Service Pack Installed)
Windows XP Professional or Home Edition (Latest Service Pack Installed)
Windows 2003 Server (Latest Service Pack Installed)
Windows Vista (32 Bit with Latest Service Pack Installed)
Note from Trend Micro: RUBotted cannot protect computers running Panda Internet Security 2008.
Download at: Trend Micro