Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

The idea of a network of malware-infected zombie computers rigged to do the bidding of criminals conjures up a frightening image on its own. A new visualization of the so-called ZeroAcess botnet shows how alarmingly widespread such schemes can become. 

Thanks to security firm F-Secure and Google Maps, we can see computers infected with ZeroAccess blanketing maps of both the U.S. and Western Europe. The botnet has been around for several years, evolving to evade antivirus software, according to another security firm, Sophos. And it’s been amassing its drone army the same basic way: once the malware is delivered, it connects the infected computer to a peer-to-peer network so it can receive commands to download more malware. The original pest is usually a trojan—a legitimate-looking file or helpful-looking program that fools users into downloading it.

Sophos reports that ZeroAccess malware has been installed around nine million times globally, and the firm estimates that the botnet currently comprises about a million active computers.The scheme is quite lucrative: if running at full capacity, the botnet can reportedly use click fraud and bitcoin mining to make up to $100,000 a day for its operators.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Web, malware, computer security, botnets

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me
×

A Place of Inspiration

Understand the technologies that are changing business and driving the new global economy.

September 23-25, 2014
Register »