Explains it better than anything else I 've read. Worth a click to read the whole thing , especially if you are a wanna-be-geek like me . ~~
"Web of Crime: Zombie PC Armies Designed to Suck Your Wallet Dry"
Erik Larkin, special to PC World
Tue Aug 23, 3:00 AM ET
"..... harmful bots, when installed on the PCs of unspecting users, connect to IRC, or to a Web site, or even to a peer-to-peer network and await commands from their controllers. When the commands arrive, the bots execute them on their unwitting hosts--which might include your personal computer--enabling malicious hackers to gain complete control over those machines; the infected PCs are then called "zombies."
For instance, a July 2005 study by antivirus vendor McAfee reported that the number of systems infected with malicious software that allows a PC to be used for unauthorized purposes jumped by 303 percent during the second quarter of 2005 from the previous quarter.
The primary purpose of these infiltrations is to make money, says Larry Johnson, special agent in charge of the Criminal Investigative Division of the U.S. Secret Service. And in some respects, the operations function just like a legitimate business.
Organized criminals are emerging as a new and increasingly effective source of sophisticated attacks with botnets, according to Vincent Gullotto, vice president of McAfee's Anti-virus and Vulnerability Emergency Response Team. "There's a whole new ballgame that's being played," he adds.
Copyright © 2005 PC World Communications, Inc.
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