"The widespread use of zombie computers to commit crimes over the Internet presents a very real danger to law-abiding computer users," said Tim Cranton, the director of Microsoft's Internet Safety division.
Earlier this year, Cranton said, Microsoft set up a "clean" PC, then infected it with malicious code commonly used by attackers to turn a computer into a zombie. Researchers then monitored the PC's use of the Internet for 20 days, and tallied the number of messages sent through it.
"In those 20 days, this one computer received 5 million connection requests from spammers, and sent 18 million spam messages," said Cranton.
That amount of data was impossible to analyze, so Microsoft focused on the three most-active spamming days, when 470,00 connection requests were made of the PC, and about 1.8 million messages were sent through it.
OnGuard Online has been launched to help consumers and business become more aware and educated on digital threats. This site is in collaboration with private industry and:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Federal Trade Commission
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
U.S. Department of Commerce
There is a whole of common sense here yet it is encouraging to see that the Fed's are now acknowledging that ID Theft is out of control. The financial services industry is certainly at risk as long as consumers are banking online and using their PC's to pay their bills.
If haven't already, you should consider signing up for alerts from US-CERT.