As one of the biggest spam networks, last week the Grum network accounted for around 126 billion spam emails. Now, thanks to a coordinated effort by global internet security firms, government agencies, and internet service providers, worldwide spam generated by the Grum botnet has been shut down. This means less spam in your email, less congested internet traffic, and a more secure internet.
This shutdown marks a huge leap forward for security firms combating the ever increasing number of spam emails generated over the internet. The key flaw to the Grum botnet was that it did not have a fail-safe should all of it’s master servers go down. This made it a target for security firms for years, as the prolific botnet had a weakness which at some point could be exploited. This weakness culminated in the global offensive on spam which ended up shutting down the Grum botnet in its entirety by 2pm EST Wednesday.
Botnets are composed of computers which are infected with malware. The inected computers check a master server or receive information by some other means – usually undetected by the user – and then carry out commands issued by the master server. Those individual computers unknowingly participate in denial-of-service attacks among other internet mischief, including spam. By severing the ties between the infected computers and the master server, the infected computers no longer receive commands, and thus no longer produce spam or other harmful attacks.
Unfortunately those computers still have the malware on them, and probably any other number of viruses. Infected computers which aren’t cleaned quickly have a tendency to accumulate more viruses, as each virus opens up pathways for other viruses to get in. Although the Grum botnet is shut down, there is still a lot of work to be done. Those 126 billion spam emails last week? That accounted for only 35% of the spam actually generated. The other 15% came from another botnet which took a huge plunge in activity when Grum went down.
Tips for removing spam:
- When you get spam email, mark it as spam – this can alert your email provider that it’s spam, and with enough users marking the same email as spam, your email provider can block those emails entirely.
- If you use Outlook for emails, make sure to install some kind of spam filter such as SPAMfighter.
- Some emails aren’t spam, but are definitely unwanted – check each email for an ‘unsubscribe‘ link at the bottom to remove yourself from their email list.
- If you’re using internet email, go with one of the big providers. Google’s Gmail is 99.9% spam free, automatically without any user interaction. You can sign up for a free account here.
For the full detailed CNN article on the takedown of the Grum botnet click here.
As always, the technicians here at A Plus Computer Tech are the front-line troops when it comes to dealing with spam, malware and viruses. We combat these infections on a daily basis using our own established techniques. Due to our experience, we can happily attest that no matter how bad a virus might be, we have the experience and skills to remove it without harming your user data. If you feel your computer is infected with malware or a virus, check our virus removal page, or give us a call and we will happily assist you.