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Botnets

A botnet is a web of infected computers used by identity thieves and scam artists (the only criminals we refer to as artists) to send out spam, viruses, and malware. Unwittingly, you might even be part of the problem. It has been estimated that as much as 20% of home computers have been compromised by botnets that occur when, unwittingly, people download the malware and become part of the botnet. Often the mal-ware is downloaded through clicking on a link from an e-mail or phishing Web site promising free music, games, or other enticements.

In 2011, the Department of Justice with the assistance of Microsoft Corp. disabled a massive botnet that infected as many as two million computers for as long as ten years. This particular botnet originated in Russia and has been estimated as having led to the theft of $100 million over the ten years the botnet was in existence.

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