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Beat zombies this Halloween

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IT security company Sophos has called on computer users to participate in Kill-A-Zombie Day on Halloween tomorrow.

According to Sophos, billions of spam messages are sent out every day, with over 99% sent out from unsuspecting users' computers that have been hijacked and turned into a zombie.

Brett Myroff, CEO of regional Sophos distributor, Sophos SA, explains: “If your computer has been turned into a zombie then a hacker has complete control of your PC. That means they can read everything you type, see every Web site you visit, as well as spam out adverts through your Internet connection without your knowledge.”

The security vendor says hackers control networks of zombie computers, known as a botnet, in order to send out adverts or scareware tactics to trick users out of their credit card details, access social networking accounts, and spread further malicious attacks.

According to Myroff, the answer is to keep computer security up to date with anti-virus software, security patches and firewalls.

He adds: “We need more people around the world to wake up to this truly global problem. Halloween would be the perfect opportunity to scare hackers off your computer by scanning it for threats."

Sophos recommends companies automatically update their corporate virus protection and run a consolidated solution at their e-mail and Web gateways to defend against viruses and spam.

According to Sophos, the US was the top spam-relaying country between July and September, sending out 13.3% of the world's spam. This was followed by Brazil (12.1%), India (5.6%), South Korea (5.5%), Vietnam (4.7%), China (4%), Poland (3.9%), Turkey (3.3%), Russia (2.8%), Spain (2.7%), Italy (2.3%) and Argentina (2.1%).

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