Christopher Stewart of Bloomberg BusinessWeek on June 16 had a fascinating story about what it takes to bust a cyber crime botnet ring - a great detective/technology/business story with twists, turns, compelling characters and portentious passages on the dangers of modern networking.
Now, Lanstein and FireEye were chasing their mightiest target to date, the Web's most sprawling and advanced spam machine, called Rustock—pusher of fake pills, online pharmacies, and Russian stocks, the inspiration for its name. Over the past five years, Rustock had quietly—and illicitly—taken control of over a million computers around the world, directing them to do its bidding. On some days, Rustock generated as many as 44 billion digital come-ons, about 47.5 percent of all the junk e-mails sent, according to Symantec (SYMC), the computer security giant based in Mountain View, Calif. Although those behind Rustock had yet to be identified, profits from it were thought to be in the millions. "The bad guys," is what Lanstein had taken to calling them.
That second paragraph of the story had more facts and color in it than most articles on computer security have in the entire article. My beef with too many of these stories is that the consultants get quoted just for saying their is a problem without 1) proving anyone has been harmed by the alleged problem or 2) giving anything more than a surface quote on what to do about it.
This article is all of those "Panic in the Streets" features in reverse. Stewart sits in on bringing down a global criminal enterprise, electronically, and it's a fascinating ride well worth reading, even a couple of weeks later.