7. Is the current tidal wave simply a revival of intellectual challenge seekers spurred on by the work of organised crime malware authors? If this is the case, doesn't the confusion help organized crime?
There is a possibility that intellectual challenge seekers or bragging rights seekers are working simultaneously at creating new variants. Either way, the net beneficiary is organised crime as the number of compromised computers or zombies continues to increase. Those zombies can be used for a variety of malevolent or clandestine purposes from launching spam campaigns to phishing scams and also from carrying out DDoS extortions to working as fileservers for illicit or pirated material.
mi2g Intelligence Unit preliminary data shows that NetSky.d has already caused between $405 million and $495 million in estimated damages worldwide. Taken together, the NetSky family has climbed to 8th rank, in The Top 20 Table of most damaging malware maintained by mi2g since 1995, with estimated economic damage between $7.1bn and $8.7bn worldwide. Netsky.D appeared to be particularly fast-spreading, with Europe showing the most infections, while Africa experienced the worst rate of infection, having a higher number of infections per PC. Australia has not featured at this stage, but the worst affected countries are primarily West European, followed by the US and Japan.
People, clean out your computers with a program like Spybot Search and Destroy, then don't open attached files from people you don't know. Since my address is so public, it is being spoofed viciously - if you get an email from me with an attachment, IT'S NOT FROM ME AND DON'T OPEN IT. I don't send attachments. Also, make sure you have updated security patches from Microsoft if you use a Microsoft operating system.