One-Third of Spam Coming From Hacked PCs

By Deane Barker on December 7, 2003

Hijacked PCs spread 30% of spam: A standard refrain from home users about security is “I don’t have anything on my computer that anyone would want.” Well, yes you do — you have a computer which can be hijacked for God knows what.

One third of all spam circulating the Web is relayed through PCs that have been compromised by malicious programs known as Remote Access Trojans, according to Sophos, a corporate spam and antivirus company.

This is only going to get worse as broadband saturation increases. Dial-up machines aren’t easy to hack into since they’re not connected all the time, and even if you get into one, you can’t do much for the same reason.

But hackers are drooling over the new Christmas season — they’re envisioning a whole bunch of brand new Dells and Gateways coming online, with novice users, no security patches, and nice, fast cable modems on every desktop. The possibilities are, sadly, endless.



  1. The problem referred to in “Hacked Computers Spread 30% of Spam” is exactly what’s happened to my computer. Despite running a new registered security suite (firewall, anti-virus etc) and killing nearly 300 viruses, my computer still appears to be sending (or trying to send out) 100s of standard spams (Viagra etc). It is also running very slowly (I think due to the deletion of some infected files in Windows system 32) and automatically shuts down every so often.

    I cannot be the only one – what do we do now? Philly

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