More Than 1 Million Bots On The Attack Published: Mar 17, 2005
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At least a million machines are under the control of hackers worldwide, said security experts in Germany, indicating that the bot and botnet problem is worse than anyone thought.

At least a million machines are under the control of hackers worldwide, said security experts in Germany, indicating that the bot and botnet problem is worse than anyone thought.

Using only three computers as "honeypots," machines deliberately left open to attack, thus attracting hackers and their bots so researchers can capture data on their actions, German security analysts at Aachen University were able to identify more than 100 botnets during a three-month project. Those botnets ranged in size from only a few hundred compromised PCs to several of up to 50,000 systems.

The volume, the Honeynet Project researchers said, was staggering. Even using conservative estimates, they projected over a million PCs worldwide are currently under the control of hackers running botnets.

"That number wouldn't surprise me," said Ken Dunham, the director of malicious code research at iDefense, a Reston, Va.-based security intelligence firm.

The number of bots in attacker botnets is hard to pin down, added Dunham, but the figures cited by the Germans, he said, are probably conservative. "In just the last six months, the numbers of botnets surged from only a few hundred to over 6,000 total by our count," Dunham said. "It's not uncommon to see botnets with more than 50,000 PCs, so there could easily be a million or more total."

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Source: InternetWeek

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