NEW YORK, June 10 (UPI) -- A California computer security expert is warning about a new computer virus that tells hackers about the latest weaknesses in computer networks.
Bruce Schneier of Counterpane Internet Security said the viruses infect a network, scan for security vulnerabilities and then report back to hackers through an Internet Relay Chat channel, a type of online chatroom.
Those hackers can then fine-tune their "bot" viruses to launch more effective denial-of-service attacks or harvest credit card numbers.
Kevin Hogan, senior manager at Symantec's Security Response division in Dublin, Ireland, said good firewalls will prevent hackers from communicating with bots.
Hogan also said once the genuine IP address of the IRC channel host is known, tracking the hacker is not too difficult.
"IRC is how they work, but it's also the Achilles heel of the botnet," he said.