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Zombies infiltrate US military networks

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Security researchers have traced spam-sending botnet clients back to networks run by the US military.

Support Intelligence, the firm whose research on honeynets revealed that the networks of at least 28 Fortune 1000 companies contained malware-infected spam-spewing PCs, has found evidence of bots running behind military networks.

Rick Wesson, chief exec of Support Intelligence, said the firm's honeynet system has received Viagra spam from an IP address owned by the Randolph Airforce base. Support Intelligence has also observed bots - running IP addresses owned by the Directorate of Information Management - trying to connect to botnet command and control servers, evidence that PCs run by the directorate have become spam proxies under the control of hackers.

Most security experts associate malware-infected PCs that form the zombie components of botnet networks with careless consumers. The work of Support Intelligence suggests that large IT firms, including HP and Oracle, as well as the US military, are also partly responsible for the deluge of stock offer scams, penis pill offers, and other assorted tat that deluges surfers' inboxes every day.

The misuse of US military networks by spammers and other pond life is infrequently reported, but goes back some years. In August 2004, we reported how blog comment spams promoting illegal porn sites were sent through compromised machines associated with unclassified US military networks. Spam advertising "incest, rape and animal sex" pornography was posted on a web log which was set up to discuss the ID Cards Bill via an open proxy at the gateway of an unclassified military network. ®

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