Not a day goes by without a story about hacking but mostly people are oblivious to the threats around them. It falls to corporations to protect hapless users online.
I for one, think these companies deserve a bit more thanks than they currently get. Microsoft and its security partners take on the global botnet problem regularly – a botnet is a network of hacked computers linked together to provide computer power for nefarious means.
How many computers does this affect? One Botnet called Citadel was at a conservative estimate believed to be 1.9 million machines before it was brought down.
Microsoft didn’t just disable the command and control centre of Citadel, it also created a sinkhole in its place which responded to infected machines and removed defences of the malicious program which allowed anti-virus software to remove it.
Someone actually criticized Microsoft for doing this because when they removed the virus’ defences they were doing just as the criminals had done and modified a computer without the owner’s permission. I don’t understand this criticism … I mean yes in abstract theory a computer giant abusing its power to modify files without a user’s permission is bad. But in this specific case it was the right thing to do.
There may be non-philanthropic motives, Microsoft has become the face of modern computing and makes a living from Windows being trusted. These attacks are often not due to a fault in Windows but still reduce trust in the system especially as other operating systems make exaggerated claims to being virus free.
I, however, choose to believe that there is a beneficent motive behind this, since Microsoft must accept that no one else could do this as effectively. Their security team stands by default as the Guardians of the Internet for the common user which is something worthy of our gratitude.
Not to mention that after this happened spam watchers at Symantec saw a 25 per cent drop in spam across the internet… the whole internet…
So rather than being critical, I’ll just say thanks!