ZeroAccess: A look at just how big a botnet can get

ZeroAccess Google Earth USA

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine just how contagious a botnet can be, and then sometimes you see them from space. Security researchers at F-Secure created this look at ZeroAccess botnet infections today, across the United States and the world.

Image if each one of those red triangles represented the flu. That’s essentially what they are, little indications of virtual wheezes and sneezes your computer is suffering from under ZeroAccess’s infiltration. The botnet was first discovered in 2010, and continues to evolve and pop up in the hundreds of thousands around the world.

ZeroAccess Google EarthIt is considered a trojan, downloaded when a person visits a secretly compromised site. Once installed on the computer, it pushes advertisement pop-ups to the user, and will redirect browsers to advertising websites. The malware writers make money off of the advertising, and for every installation that can trick people into.

While the botnet isn’t new, the representation shows just how real and destructive a botnet like this can be. Its creators are smart enough to change the malware frequently to make sure it gets through anti-virus software.

As per usual, people should be careful about what websites they visit, vetting links and pop ups to make sure they’re trustworthy. ZeroAccess, like most malware, is generally distributed on “high risk” websites, such as pornography sites, but can also be found on legitimate websites that have been compromised.

Don’t hold your breath for a vaccination.