Botnets: the plague of the Internet in recent times, they are used to perpetrate all sorts of illegal activities from collecting personal and confidential information to hammering mail servers with SPAM. Botnets have been known about for years and have proven very difficult for law enforcement agencies to crack down on. At last it looks like botnets are starting to take on some serious damage. In New Zealand an 18-year-old has been arrested and had his computer seized; he is suspected of heading up a global gang who call themselves the “A-Team”. This group has infected millions of computers worldwide with an adaptation of the AKBot worm, a backdoor program which can be used to remotely control the infected machines and perform a multitude of illegal activities.

It’s thought that the FBI played a substantial role in the arrest in New Zealand as part of a wider attack on botnets and their masters. This press release states that eight suspects have been arrested and either pleaded guilty or been convicted of running botnets. On top of that, another thirteen arrest warrants have been issued!

I’m not sure we’ll ever be rid of botnets; as the authorities start to make progress, the criminals will inevitably get better at covering their tracks. Still it’s nice to see some kind of action being taken to fight what is one of the Internet’s biggest problems.