Briefing: Learning about the Threats from Botnets

By Cameron
April 20, 2007

Next Wednesday at 12:00 p.m., ACM and Microsoft are sponsoring a briefing to educate policymakers about the growing threat of botnets. For those not familiar with the issue, ‘bots are malicious software (viruses, worms, etc.) that take over an unsecured computer and place it under the control of a hacker or ‘bot herder’. These computers are then linked into a distributed network that can be used to attack other computers, steal and share personal information, conduct “click fraud”, and send spam, among other illegal activities.

The briefing is open to the press and the public; here are the details:


WHAT: Brown Bag Lunch Briefing

  • Presented by ACM and Microsoft
  • Hosted by the Senate Science and Technology Caucus
  • Hear academic, industry and law enforcement experts
    explore the growing threat of botnets and how they fuel criminal activities

WHEN: Wednesday, April 25, 2007 12:00 noon – 1:15 p.m.

WHERE: U.S. Capitol Senate Chambers
Room SC-4
Constitution Avenue and New Jersey Avenue


  • Senator Mark Pryor (D-AR)
  • Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT)
  • Edward Felten, Princeton University, on How Botnets Form and the Scope of the Threat
  • Phil Reitinger, Microsoft, on How Industry is Dealing with Botnets
  • Scott O’Neal, FBI, on How Law Enforcement is Fighting Botnets

WHY: Robots are alive and well today, but they resemble nothing you’ve seen from science fiction or in a lab. They are hiding on millions of computers around the world.

Known as ‘bots,’ they are programs installed on computers without the knowledge of their owners. They can turn computers into ‘zombies’ under the control of a hacker or ‘bot herder’ and are used for malicious activities. When linked, they form a botnet – a network of compromised computers.

These networks are a serious and growing risk to consumers’ privacy, business operations, e-commerce and the Internet itself. They can be used to spam, cripple websites, steal personal information, and attack other computers.

HOW: This is a public event but space is limited.
RSVP to David Bruggeman by April 24
Tel (202) 659-9711 Fax (202) 667-1066
Email david.bruggeman AT