Targeting Hackers via Google Earth: Mapping Spam and Malware Hackers

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SophosLabs, a security company that gets all types of malware and spyware information from around the world, has used Google Earth to map out where the latest spam and malware campaigns have initiated. I have to say, this is quite an unusual way of putting Google Earth to use. I can never recall a time that I actually used Google Earth for something other than my own personal enjoyment.

The map below, although it may look rather gross or like a bunch of red ants crawling over European countries, is an actual representation of locations of zombie computers according to SophosLabs.

google-earth-mapping-malware-spam
photo credit: SophosLabs click for full-size image

I thought that this was worth sharing because SophosLabs took the effort to compile all of this data from other a years’ time to actually pinpoint the areas of zombie computers or those that have been taken over as a result from a malware or spyware infection. Usually these types of parasites are used to steal information from a computer arming hackers with enough data to log into computer user’s online banking accounts or even steal their personal identities. Crazy isn’t it?

SophosLabs even went as far as to create a video and upload it on YouTube demonstrating where spam comes from, mainly home machines located in UK and Europe. They even show examples of zooming into areas on the Google Earth map of where they suspect a piece of malware has originated from and then redirected to a website.

What do they do with all of this data? Who knows! Hopefully security companies can use this type of data to actually catch the perpetrators instead of notifying the public on where these hackers are located. Unless they plan on doing some house raids to confiscate the hackers’ computers, I really do not know how we will greatly benefit from this data right now. Nonetheless, this is pretty darn interesting.

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