Botnet Report Shows Increases

Sue Marquette Poremba

I have a feeling that "increasing number of botnets" is a phrase I'll be coming back to often over the year, if the recent Damballa report is any indication.


Damballa is one of the growing number of security companies that has seen a dramatic increase in botnet activity in 2010 over previous years. According to the report:

At its peak in 2010, the total number of unique botnet victims grew by 654 percent, with an average incremental growth of eight percent per week.

That's a pretty rampant growth. I also thought it was interesting that the report said:

Prior to 2010, many people thought in terms of Spam and DDoS whenever the term "botnet" was discussed. By the end of the year, botnets such as Mariposa, Aurora, Koobface and Stuxnet had become household names-revealing the breadth of crime commonly being facilitated with remotely controllable bot agents.

Imagine, botnets as household names. I think that shows two things: Botnets are becoming more widespread and people are paying more attention to the ways our computers are breached. I thought it was a big deal when Stuxnet was discussed on the evening news, and while we certainly don't want Stuxnet around, the fact that people are talking about it is a good thing.


Perhaps one of the reasons we are more familiar with botnets is because, even though there are so many of them, Damballa said the top 10 botnets caused nearly half of the damage:

In 2010, the Top 10 largest botnets accounted for approximately 47% of all botnet compromised victims-down from 81% of the 2009 Top 10. This decrease was not unexpected as the number of new criminal botnet operators increased, as did the average number of botnets owned and managed by each botnet master.

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