I'm happy to see that CNN Money is letting the average users know they
might be sending themselves spam. :)
To combat the viruses I think we should plaster the campus with these
Article from :
Is your PC sending Viagra spam?
December 3, 2003: 12:54 PM EST
Experts say home users with broadband services could be sending out 'spam'
e-mails without knowing.
LONDON (Reuters) - Security experts have identified what they suspect to
be the biggest culprit behind that seemingly unceasing torrent of e-mail
spam messages and computer virus outbreaks.
The unwitting culprit, they say, is the home user with a broadband, or
always-on, connection. In fact, it could be you.
Viruses and related "worms" typically target computers that run on
Microsoft Windows and have a high-speed broadband connection. In the past
six months, a new generation of bug has emerged that contains a so-called
"trojan" program which discreetly installs itself into the innards of the
An effective "trojan" gives the author near complete control of a
victimized machine -- almost always a computer that is not equipped with
proper firewall and security software.
The result is that the computer becomes a "zombie" ready to carry out any
Once hit, computer users would never suspect that through their machines
flow waves of spam and e-mail-borne viruses, experts say.
Some machines have even been commandeered to participate in debilitating
"denial of service" attacks, sending a flood of data requests capable of
knocking an Internet company offline. The fast-spreading Sobig.F virus
this summer was the first to do this, experts said.
Church-goers caught in the act: Suresh Ramasubramanian, manager of Hong
Kong-based e-mail filtering company Outblaze, said the volume of spam his
firm has intercepted has exploded since Sobig.F emerged in August.
Increasingly, it appears to be average home users whose PCs send out
discounts for Viagra and penis-enlargement offers. "These are your typical
church-going people," he said.
With countries outlawing spam and even setting criminal penalties and
fines, some industry observers wonder if ordinary computer users will get
caught up in a dragnet.
"Almost a third of all spam is being sent from hijacked, innocent
computers," said Graham Cluley of British virus and spam-filtering firm
Sophos. "What happens if it's actually Grandma or little Timmy's computer
sending out the spam?"
Stefanie B. Ploof
University of Vermont
CIT Client Services / CALS IT Office