The Storm Worm is scary for a number of good reasons. It acts patiently, slowly creating a massive network of drone machines and control systems, communicating through peer-to-peer protocols. It gives little evidence that a particular machine has been compromised. Finally, it creates a malicious network that is particularly hard (maybe impossible, at this time) to map or shut down.
This is no mere spam-spread annoyance. If it takes over very large numbers of computers and remains in the control of its creators, it could be quite a computational force. The only question is what they (or someone who rents the botnet) will choose to use it for, and whether such attacks can be foiled by technical or law-enforcement means. Hopefully, this code will prove a clever exception to the norm, rather than a preview of what the malware of the future will resemble.
Normally, I don’t worry too much about viruses. I use a Mac, run anti-virus software, use other protective programs, make frequent backups, and use the internet cautiously. While those things are likely to keep my own system free of malware, I naturally remain vulnerable to it. That’s where most spam comes from. Also, there is the danger that a network of malicious computers will crash or blackmail some website or service that I use. With distributed systems like Storm, the protection of an individual machine isn’t adequate to prevent harm.
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