Spam affects all of our daily web activities, whether we choose to ignore it or not. Junk mail, fake chat messages, and malicious websites are just a few of the potholes that dot the information superhighway. Insidious internet software is primarily spread through the use of botnets — large collections of public computers that have been infected without the knowledge of their owners. One such botnet, named "Grum," has just suffered a very serious setback thanks to the work of internet security experts from around the world.
Grum's servers — the machines that control the network and manipulate users' PCs without their knowledge — were based in the Netherlands and Panama, making them difficult to locate. Once they were shut down on Wednesday, Grum's architects quickly revived the spam networking using new machines in both Russia and the Ukraine. But almost as quickly as those new servers sprung to life, they were again shut down by authorities.
Experts estimate that Grum's spam production may have accounted for as much as 50% of the web's total. So, will you notice an immediate difference in the amount of junk mail or scam-ridden chat messages? Perhaps, but with botnets such as this, as soon as one is taken down there are typically several more lined up to take its place. Still, lowing the hammer on Grum is definitely a big step towards a safer internet.
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