Backdoor Trojans are a clear and present danger to Windows machines, Microsoft said Monday as it released the first-ever analysis of data collected by the 15-month run of its Malicious Software Removal Tool, a utility that seeks out and destroys over five-dozen malware families.
According to Microsoft's anti-malware engineering team, Trojans that, once installed, give an attacker access and control of a PC, are a "significant and tangible threat to Windows users."
Of the 5.7 million unique PCs from which the Malicious Software Removal Tool (MSRT) has deleted malware, 3.5 million of them -- 62 percent -- had at least one backdoor Trojan.
"Backdoor Trojans are a large part of the malware landscape," said Matt Braverman, program manager on the team, and the author of a report on the tool's data that was released Monday at Boston's TechEd 2006 conference.
Bots, a subset of Trojan horses, were especially "popular" on infected PCs, Microsoft's data showed. Bots are small programs that communicates with the controlling attacker, usually through Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels, less frequently via instant messaging. Of the top 5 on the MSRT's removed malware list, three families -- Rbot, Sdbot, and Geobot -- were bots.