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Via Paul Phillips, a report by Bruce Schneier on a quietly spreading cyberthreat called Storm:

"Although it's most commonly called a worm, Storm is really more: a worm, a Trojan horse and a bot all rolled into one. It's also the most successful example we have of a new breed of worm, and I've seen estimates that between 1 million and 50 million computers have been infected worldwide.

Old style worms -- Sasser, Slammer, Nimda -- were written by hackers looking for fame. They spread as quickly as possible (Slammer infected 75,000 computers in 10 minutes) and garnered a lot of notice in the process. The onslaught made it easier for security experts to detect the attack, but required a quick response by antivirus companies, sysadmins and users hoping to contain it. Think of this type of worm as an infectious disease that shows immediate symptoms.

Worms like Storm are written by hackers looking for profit, and they're different. These worms spread more subtly, without making noise. Symptoms don't appear immediately, and an infected computer can sit dormant for a long time. If it were a disease, it would be more like syphilis, whose symptoms may be mild or disappear altogether, but which will eventually come back years later and eat your brain."

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
morbid_o
Oct. 25th, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
I think he's even got a title lrking in there: "Worm/Counterworm"
ldrake
Oct. 25th, 2007 03:40 pm (UTC)
Read "Glasshouse" by Stross...
For a picture of what it might look like if a worm entered a society based on assembly/disassembly transporter systems and quietly started "editing our memory" - creepy book. Also see this post where I talked about this kind of worm in 2003. I've always felt the greater threat (which is now being realized) was not the "loud" worms that destroyed data or spread quickly but the "quiet" ones that just slowly deprived you of resources and/or stole data from your machine silentely:

http://www.leedrake.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=840&SearchTerms=silent
dunsany
Oct. 26th, 2007 01:08 am (UTC)
Way ahead yah
I started No One Knows You're Dog with a large-scale bot infection as one of the major complications. But back then, we were only theorizing bot-nets on the scale of a million hosts. And that was only two years ago.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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