Halloween is coming so Microsoft is spending some time working on zombies. Zombie computers, that is. PC World explains:
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.”
After conducting an experiment with “zombie computers,??? Microsoft was stunned by the scope of the problem:
In a controlled experiment, Microsoft turned a PC into a zombie by infecting it with malicious code. The company then monitored how much spam and spyware the computer sent. After three weeks, the number totaled 18 million e-mail messages from 5 million different connections.
They have now filed suit against groups using zombie computers.
In another courthouse Microsoft is still on the defensive, and Judge Kollar-Kotelly is accusing them of taking too long in complying with the 2001 antitrust ruling.
But the legal tangles haven’t slowed them down. Third quarter revenues were up and are expected to rise further this quarter with the rollout of MSN adCenter.