Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

FBI Tries to Fight Zombie Hoards

The title got my attention. This is from BBC News and you can read the whole story here.

FBI tries to fight zombie hordes

The FBI is contacting more than one million PC owners who have had their computers hijacked by cyber criminals.

The initiative is part of an ongoing project to thwart the use of hijacked home computers, or zombies, as launch platforms for hi-tech crimes.

The FBI has found networks of zombie computers being used to spread spam, steal IDs and attack websites.

The agency said the zombies or bots were “a growing threat to national security”.

Signs of trouble

The FBI has been trying to tackle networks of zombies for some time as part of an initiative it has dubbed Operation Bot Roast.

This operation recently passed a significant milestone as it racked up more than one million individually identifiable computers known to be part of one bot net or another.

The law enforcement organisation said that part of the operation involved notifying people who owned PCs it knew were part of zombie or bot networks. In this way it said it expected to find more evidence of how they are being used by criminals.

“The majority of victims are not even aware that their computer has been compromised or their personal information exploited,” said James Finch, assistant director of the FBI’s Cyber Division.

Many people fall victim by opening an attachment on an e-mail message containing a virus or by visiting a booby-trapped webpage.

Many hi-tech criminals are now trying to subvert innocent webpages to act as proxies for their malicious programs.

Many bots are used to send out junk mail or spam
Once hijacked, PCs can be used to send out spam, spread spyware or as repositories for illegal content such as pirated movies or pornography.

Those in charge of botnets, called botherders, can have tens of thousands of machines under their control.

Operation Bot Roast has resulted in the arrest of three people known to have used bot nets for criminal ends.

June 15, 2007 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Communication, Community, Counter-terrorism, Crime, Customer Service, Detective/Mystery, Financial Issues, News, Political Issues, Social Issues, Technical Issue, Tools, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Little Diamond’s Peeve

Little Diamond, my niece living and working in Beirut, has a pet peeve, which I remembered as I was writing a comment on an earlier piece.

“I HATE it when people write ‘discrete’ when they mean ‘discreet!” she exclaimed, inflamed.

OOOps. I don’t know if I do it of not. Now, I look it up every time so I won’t inflame Little Diamond.

dis·creet (dĭ-skrēt’)
Marked by, exercising, or showing prudence and wise self-restraint in speech and behavior; circumspect.
Free from ostentation or pretension; modest.
[Middle English, from Old French discret, from Medieval Latin discrētus, from Latin, past participle of discernere, to separate, discern.

dis·crete (dĭ-skrēt’)
Constituting a separate thing. See synonyms at distinct.
Consisting of unconnected distinct parts.
Mathematics. Defined for a finite or countable set of values; not continuous.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin discrētus, past participle of discernere, to separate.

Here is where it get’s tricky:

dis·cre·tion (dĭ-skrĕsh’ən)
The quality of being discreet; circumspection. See synonyms at prudence.
Ability or power to decide responsibly.
Freedom to act or judge on one’s own: All the decisions were left to our discretion.

The first is used to describe behavior. The second is used to describe the state of being separate. They have identical pronunciation, thank God. You can see they are from the same root.

The third is a type of behavior made by a person having the freedom to choose separately. I am guessing it is more related to discrete than to discreet, but usually when you behave with discretion, you behave discreetly.

Yeh, we are word-nerds.

June 15, 2007 Posted by | Blogging, Blogroll, Communication, Cultural, Family Issues, Language, Words | 3 Comments