Is your computer running slowly? Or perhaps it is acting strangely?
If so then there are many possible reasons for why that is the case, from hardware issues to software problems, dust to heat and malware, to name but a few.
Nowadays of course one of the most likely culprits of poor performance is that your computer is part of a botnet. I was going to scare you by saying what percentage of PCs are though to be trapped in botnets but, to be honest, I don’t think there is any way of coming up with a definitive figure. I would guess it is quite high though, perhaps 30%, but other security guys (and gals) I asked have suggested it could be higher.
In any event, I think the likelihood of your computer being part of a botnet is sufficient that it is worth a minute of your time to find out if it actually is. And there is a very simple, yet handy, tool on the web for doing just that: botnetchecker.com.
By visiting botnetchecker.com you can find out in seconds whether your computer’s IP address has been detected in one of their honeynets. A honeynet is a trap which records the IP addresses of any computers it encounters which display symptoms that would suggest that it is indeed part of a botnet.
When you visit the site your IP address is noted and compared with their list and you will then be informed if any bot activity is suspected. If it is then there are suggestions for what you can and should do next.
Botnets are a real and growing problem that are often used by criminal gangs for DDoS attacks and sending spam, amongst other things, and so I really do recommend that you find out whether you have already succumbed to one or not:
Learn more about the correlation between botnets and spam by reading the excellent Symantec Intelligence Report (June 2011)
Thanks to Paul Wood for pointing me to that
Whilst trying to find out what percentage of computers may be part of a botnet I was pointed to various other related resources which you too may find interesting:
- Want more botnet facts, figures and tasty graphics? Check out How My PC Became A Zombie
- ShadowServer has some interesting metrics you could look at.
- Likewise, the Distributed Honeypots Project
- The European Netword and Information Security Agency has some solid info on botnets too.