The internet is becoming a scarier and scarier place.
In a recent “honeypot” study, a Windows XP computer with Service Pack 1 was infiltrated in just 200 seconds, without even opening a web browser.
For the less techie-minded, a “honeypot” study involves setting up a new PC with a new operating system (in this case, a Windows XP SP1 machine) and connecting it directly to the internet to see how it is attacked and to what end. In this case, all they did was connect said computer to the internet… and less than four minutes later, it had been compromised by an attacker. Within half an hour, it was receiving instructions to act as a bridge to attack other computers.
Four minutes isn’t long enough to download and install ZoneAlarm. It certainly isn’t long enough to install Service Pack 2. And all across the globe, newbie PC users are buying off-the-shelf computers with no firewall, taking them home, and connecting them to the internet, basically ‘volunteering’ their computers and their bandwidth to be zombies and attack others around the world, relay spam, or share their files with anybody, anywhere.
If anybody needs help securing their system, just give me a shout.