You consider spam harmless? Maybe it is. But maybe you've already become part of a criminal network without ever knowing.
T he subject line always sounds so innocuous: “Message from Sina,” “cell phone bill,” or “im portant information about your account.” At best, such messages are annoying, but harmless. We’re talking about spam e-mail in your mailbox. Just delete it. Done! Nothing happens. Some 50 billion spam messages are sent via the Internet everyday. And Deutsche Telekom works around the clock to pro tect you from them. We collect informa tion about the known waves of spam that build up, create automatic filters and use suitable keyword filters to sort e-mails before they reach your mailbox. If we did not do those things, your mailbox would very quickly be inundated in spam!
Without suspecting anything, you have become part of a botnet sending out spam e-mail
But beware – not all junk e-mails are harmless. They can pose a threat when they contain links or attachments that, once clicked on, can take control of your computer, read out your data or add your computer to a “botnet”. Botnets are net works that criminals build for the purpose of sending spam, and they add computers to their botnets by installing malware on them. Once your computer is part of such a criminal botnet, your computer will be a slave to it, sending junk e-mails in the background without your knowledge. Our “abuse team” is there to prevent your computer from becoming part of such a network. The team tracks down malicious e-mail spam by finding out what IP addresses it’s being sent from and when. In cases when the IP address involved happens to be an address of one of our customers, we alert the customer. We send out a total of 25,000 such warnings per month, via e-mail and regular mail. Because criminal spam programmers keep getting more and more professional, their e-mails sometimes slip through our filters, however. So remember: Beware of opening attachments and links in e-mails you’re not sure about. Attachments and links can contain junk that is truly malicious.
A “herder” is a criminal who controls a botnet from his own computer, in the shadows
He uses a “command and control server” to communicate with all the infected computers in his botnet
The malware gets to computers via e-mail, USB flash drives (“sticks”) or surfer carelessness
Once the C&C server reports that it has enough infected computers, the herder launches his spam wave