The Storm worm botnet has grown so massive and far-reaching that it easily overpowers the world's top supercomputers.
That's the latest word from security researchers who are tracking the burgeoning network of Microsoft Windows machines that have been compromised by the virulent Storm worm, which has pounded the Internet non-stop for the past three months.
Ahem... "Microsoft Windows machines." I guess that rules out anything on my network as being infected. ;)
"In terms of power, the botnet utterly blows the supercomputers away," said Matt Sergeant, chief anti-spam technologist with MessageLabs, in an interview. "If you add up all 500 of the top supercomputers, it blows them all away with just 2 million of its machines. It's very frightening that criminals have access to that much computing power, but there's not much we can do about it."
Sergeant said researchers at MessageLabs see about 2 million different computers in the botnet sending out spam on any given day, and he adds that he estimates the botnet generally is operating at about 10 percent of capacity.
"We've seen spikes where the owner is experimenting with something and those spikes are usually five to 10 times what we normally see," he said, noting he suspects the botnet could be as large as 50 million computers. "That means they can turn on the taps whenever they want to."
If these numbers are more than just FUD by the security industry to sell Anti-Virus and crappy personal firewalls, then this is certainly alarming. A bot-net of 2 million computers can still send a flood of traffic. Let's do the math, shall we?
We'll assume that due to bandwidth limitations, being that most of these "bots" are PCs on broadband connections, we'll say that we've got 256k upstream.
256 kbps * 2,000,000 computers = 512 Gbps of traffic.
If we double that upstream cap to 512kbps, which is not uncommon, our potential traffic is now 1 Terabit per second!
Now if we consider that there could be as many as 50 million computers, with an average upstream of 512 kbps, we end up with a figure like this:
512 kbps * 50,000,000 computers = 25 Terabits per second, or 25,000 Gbps, or 25,000,000 Mbps. Holy NetFlow, Batman!
Another thing worth considering is the raw computing power. I'm thinking something along the lines of the distributed.net project. How secure is your encryption scheme? This would definitely be enough processing power to brute-force even large key-length algorithms. distributed.net used your spare CPU cycles, i.e., when you're not using the computer. Someone with enough disregard to install remote-control software on your PC for financial gain surely won't care if you're busy or not, they'll be busy hammering away at blocks of crypto keys.