I've been casually following some security companies trying to cut down on the spam in our email diet.
Think of it as angels and demons fighting over your internet soul while you blithely check on who's dancing with the stars.
The details go over my head in about ten seconds, but there's been some success in cutting off the control servers for some of the largest botnets-- networks of computers like yours controlled by bad guys to send spam.
The first stories were about the Internet Service Provider McColo Corp. being shut down a year after its Russian founder's car crash. That reduced spam by about 80 billion, according to some researchers, and estimated 41% drop. Evidently that didn't include my friends in Burkina Faso and in various lotteries and s*ze *ncrease shops.
But it's a cops-and-robbers game; the Srizbi botnet, for instance, soon moved to Estonia where it was shut down again. A criminal domain registrar was shut down with little apparent effect.
The catch, and there always is one, would be if governments get too involved. I wonder about the effect on net neutrality.
A little closer to home (your computer), you Windows users are updating regularly, aren't you? Microsoft claims its November Malicious Software Removal Tool took out one million worthless applications.
Even the federal government is getting smarter about computer security. They're going "to first fix vulnerabilities in federal networks that hackers are known to exploit most frequently -- a move that represents a significant change from current federal security policy." Well, the guidelines should be available for public comment within six months.