Feeds

Windows Messenger is new spam vector

Commercial system alerts

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

The forces of evil have produced a devilish tool whereby spam can be sent to thousands of Windows users in minutes, in the guise of system alerts. This was brought to our attention by reader Mike MacNeill, who sent us a screenie of a Windows system alert offering him the university diploma of his dreams with "no required tests, classes, books or interviews," in the classic manner. Below is a smaller example:

The scam is the brainchild of an outfit called DirectAdvertiser, and leverages the Windows RPC (Remote Procedure Call) function. I downloaded the demo version and played around for a while. My results may not be entirely accurate because I didn't use the full, $700 version, and because I used it on my own network behind a firewall. However, running Ethereal on the box and trying it out revealed packets destined for ports 135 (DCE/RPC), 137 (NetBIOS name service) and 138 (NetBIOS UDP) on the target.

So we have here essentially a NetBIOS attack tool. It's capable of attacking entire IP ranges, but will not (the company says) get past a firewall or provide a hyperlink in the alert to the attacker's commercial Web site. The latter shortcoming is currently being addressed, the company says.

The quickest way to defeat it is simply to shut off Windows Messenger (not the MSN Messenger IM client), so long as it's not needed by other applications. Otherwise port 135 UDP and TCP can be filtered. If neither of these solutions is suitable, the company invites you to share with them "any questions, comments, or suggestions that you may have" at this e-mail address. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Windows 8.1, which you probably haven't upgraded to yet, ALREADY OBSOLETE
Pre-Update versions of new Windows version will no longer support patches
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Windows XP still has 27 per cent market share on its deathbed
Windows 7 making some gains on XP Death Day
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
US taxman blows Win XP deadline, must now spend millions on custom support
Gov't IT likened to 'a Model T with a lot of things on top of it'
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.