Other Threats Grab Attention, But Botnets Still Wreak Havoc

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Botnets are not going away. In fact, Gartner predicts that botnets will be going strong for the next few years, continuing to create security problems for businesses of all sizes.


Unfortunately, organizations have turned their attention to other threats, according to CDW's Botnet Protection Straw Poll.


CDW surveyed 200 IT security managers and decision-makers at medium and large businesses across the United States and only 14 percent of respondents named botnets as their next big cyber security threat, behind data loss, evolved forms of current threats and malicious attacks. That low number is despite signs like the Gartner prediction and other well-publicized botnet threat reports. For instance, stated the report:


  • The Conficker botnet is now active in 195 countries around the world.
  • Following the February attacks, security authorities internationally shut down an estimated 25 percent of the servers driving the Zeus botnet, but Zeus controllers are already finding new servers to activate.
  • According to an April 2010 RSA CyberCrime Intelligence Service report , nearly 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies have been infected with the Zeus botnet.
  • While specific botnets have their ups and downs, computers compromised by "America's 10 Most Wanted Botnets" number in the millions.


Of course, it is possible that lower priority to botnet threats is due to the frustration in the limited ability to stop them, according to a SearchSecurity.com article. Robert Westervelt wrote:

The botnet ecosystem is flourishing as a result of ineffective measures being undertaken by security researchers to get them shut down, Vitaly Kamluk, chief security expert at Kaspersky, told hundreds of incident response team members Wednesday at the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST) Conference 2010.
Kamluk explained how cybercriminals have undertaken measures to oversee deal-making between the botnet owners and the users who are renting them out. A guarantor or mediator, who typically is the owner of an established Web forum for cybercriminal activity, oversees deals and gets a cut of the action.