ZombieMeter keeps track of hacked PCs

System tracks the number of newly hacked PCs per hour and is designed to help identify Internet security threats.

Joris Evers
Joris Evers Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Joris Evers covers security.
Internet security company CipherTrust on Thursday breathed life into its ZombieMeter, a new system that tracks traffic from hacked, or zombie PCs, around the world.

Available on the CipherTrust Web site, the ZombieMeter tracks the number of new zombies that appear per hour and is designed to help identify Internet security threats, the company said in a statement.

A zombie is a computer--typically connected to the Internet via a broadband connection and without security software to protect it--that has been infected by a worm or virus and is used remotely to launch denial-of-service attacks and send spam and phishing e-mails.

So far this month, CipherTrust has found an average of 172,009 new zombies each day. About 26 percent of those were found in the European Union, 20 percent in the United States and 15 percent in China, the company said. The locations of the zombies can change on a daily basis, as machines can be hacked anywhere in the world.

Zombie PCs have become a serious problem that requires more industry action, the Federal Trade Commission said earlier this week. The organization has launched "Operation Spam Zombie" and plans to ask Internet service providers to quarantine zombies and help users clean the PCs.

CipherTrust identifies threats such as zombie activity, virus patterns and phishing attacks using data from its IronMail appliance, which is installed at customer sites, Paul Judge, CipherTrust chief technology officer, said in the statement.