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Vint Cerf on Botnets

I have previously blogged on spam and the threat spam represents to the internet (see related posts on the left of this page). Included in these posts have been nearly unbelievable statistics on the size of spam problem and number of computers on the internet that have been hijacked.

Well, a new chapter in this story was revealed this week by none other than Vint Cerf, Chairman of ICAAN and one of the “fathers” of the Internet. Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland during a panel discussion, Vint stunned the tech savy members of the audience when he stated “….that approximately 600 million computers are connected to the Internet, and that 150 million of them might be participants in a botnet—nearly all of them unwilling victims.” So is Vint accurate in his assessment that nearly a quarter of the internet is infected by botnets? Probably!

In September 2006, the security research firm, Arbor Networks, announced that it was now seeing botnet-based denial of service attacks capable of generating an astonishing 10-20Gbps of junk data! This is alot of data!!

In October 2006, it was reported by Symantec that in a recent survey of small businesses, 64 percent reported an increase in the volume of spam received over the last six months with a third saying that the increase was “significant.” Jay Best, help desk manager of ihug in New Zealand, said that the ISP had seen a spam increase of 40 percent over the last month alone, and that a spam explosion over the weekend has caused some 37,000 customers to experience e-mail delays of up to 24 hours.

Finally, the really scary part of this story is that nobody has a decent solution and there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight.

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