Are you a spam zombie?

Are you a
spam zombie?

In recent years, everyone has become familiar with the terms spam, spam filter, white lists, blacklists and a myriad of other terminologies associated with the spam problem. Now you must add a new and extremely worrying phrase to that list: spam zombie.

With the closing of the network around them, spammers are looking for new and more ingenious ways to send their spam. Spam filters and challenge response systems become progressively smarter and block more spam every day. What should a spammer do? Spammers took the next step: infiltrate your PC and use it as a spam tool.

When most of you think of the word zombie, you remember the old B movies with complaining zombies that chase the terrified actress through a castle, a swamp or any low-cost environment in which the movie revolves. However, spam zombies are much more real and much more dangerous.

A spam zombie is when your computer is taken by a type of virus called a Trojan. Once this Trojan virus is on your computer, configure an SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) application that allows you to start sending emails directly from your PC to tens of thousands of victims. All this happens invisibly in the background and can be difficult to detect even for the experienced computer user.

How do these Trojans get to your computer? As in most cases, they come from pornography, warez or similar sites. One of the first spam zombie trojans that appeared was available through a link on sites that promised viewers free access to a porn webcam. One click later and the Trojan is installed on your computer ready to send spam. Phatbot and Proxy-Guzu are two of the most common Trojans used to turn your computer into a spam zombie.

Make absolutely sure that both your antivirus software and the firewall have current detection signatures and have been fully patched and updated. Working online without taking these necessary safety precautions is simply asking for problems.

Internet service providers are under great pressure to quarantine the IP address of any computer that has become a spam zombie. This is done on the basis that the ISP risks having its entire IP range blacklisted or banned by some spam filtering services or companies.

The minimum you should do is run a full virus and spyware scan on your computer today.