Computer zombies are created, in short, when a website tells somebody to “Click here now or a kitten will die! You’ve just gotta! Do it!” and they do. The computer hums for a while and from then on is slow as frozen lard. Then they – all of them, mind you – call me and say “my computer is acting funny and things are coming up on the TV-part. Do you think it’s my memory box?”
Once a computer becomes a zombie it joins a vast horde of others called a BotNet such as the 3.5 million plus rampaging monster created by the Zeus trojan horse virus. These botnets can be leveraged to send “free” spam mail, launch denial-of-service attacks against popular websites , push illegal adware, plunder user data or work to crack passwords or encryption. They slow down the infected computers and dominate their available bandwidth making them groaning, stumbling, mindless slaves to chaos and anarchy.
While you can kill them with a shotgun blast to the CPU as you might expect, a better, if not nearly as awesome, method is to practice safe computing habits and keep your protection software up-to-date.