The Coming of The 'Opera Unite' Botnet
Scott M. Fulton, III writes on BetaNews:
The notion of converting conceivably every computer on the planet into a server is certainly not new. But almost everywhere the notion has been attempted, it's been exploited. Microsoft's ActiveX experiment in the mid-1990s was a notorious example of collective inattention to the entire topic of exploitability, though it's not the only one. Since then, millions have willingly made their Web clients into P2P servers in the interest of file-sharing -- authorized or not -- while some of them unknowingly exposed their file systems to the whole planet, exposing sensitive government documents in the process.More here.
History tells us to be skeptical when any software purports to enable ordinary computers, especially Web browsers, to act as servers. This morning, Opera Software unveiled its Unite server networking protocols, which consist of extensions to the existing widget system for its Opera Web browser. The objective there is to enable any Opera user to be a server in her own right, potentially serving up blogs, tweets, and files. Opera's own bank of servers -- which are already put to use providing pre-rendered pages for its "Turbo" feature -- serves as an intermediate proxy for all communications between Unite-enabled browsers.
Within minutes of our posting the news, Betanews readers expressed their time-tempered skepticism. As user zealus.com put it, "A united botnet owners community has released their statement where they thank Opera developers for making their lives extremely easy."