British experts have found the first hard evidence that hundreds of thousands of computers were deliberately infected with viruses by spammers who used the machines to distribute pornography and junk mail.
The Gloucester-based computer security firm MessageLabs established that a virus which was sent to up to 1 million computer users over two days last week was the work of a spammer trying to gain access to machines to distribute ads for websites carrying incest pornography.
Internet security experts and anti-spam campaigners have suspected for some time that spammers would use viruses to access computers, but the MessageLabs investigation is the first conclusive proof.
Matt Sergeant, the company's senior anti-spam technologist, told the Guardian: "This is a massive discovery. It completely undermines the spammers' claim that they are legitimate marketers and shows that they are nasty insidious hijackers who drive me and the vast majority of computer users nuts."
Good to see people who know what they are talking about quoted in the papers.