22 Dec 2010

Botnet activity drops during holiday season

Botnets are among the most malevolent malware, taking control of entire computer networks, using them to publish spam. However, according to internet security researchers, botnet activity has dropped significantly during the 2010 holiday season.The researchers found the amount of Christmas-related spam has fallen this year, an unexpected turn that should bring some relief to internet users. 

"Christmas spam is a non-event this year as far as activity from major botnets is concerned," said Phil Hay, a senior threat analyst. "The major botnets that are left are currently spamming their usual affiliate programs in a typical way, mostly centered around drugs and replicas. We are seeing very small campaigns from sources that are unknown to us ... these cases are minor in the overall scheme of things."

The defeat of the Bredolab botnet is being credited as a significant factor in the drop. A large portion of Bredolab was shut down in November by Dutch authorities, leading to a massive drop in spam output.

Botnets have posed a significant problem for internet security firms. Recently, researchers at one firm created their own botnet to study how they work.