Feeds

Why spammers lurve the ‘Microsoft support’ worm

The next Sobig thing

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

The latest Windows mass mailer worm could be used by spammers to launch bulk mail blizzards from computers they don't own, a security researcher warns.

AV vendors are now reporting the Palyh worm (which poses as a message from support@microsoft.com) as a variant of Sobig-A.

Most vendors are renaming the virus as Sobig-B.

Sobig-A has been implicated in assisting spammers by installing proxy servers on machines it infected.

Joe Stewart, Senior Intrusion Analyst, at security consultancy LURHQ, who wrote a paper on Sobig-A's appropriation by spammers, reckons history is repeating itself.

"It looks like he/she is trying to do the same thing again, because Sobig-B seems to have the same functionality - acting as a primary stage, a foothold to first spread itself then download the real Trojan code later when the author is ready," Stewart told The Register

Fortunately, Geocities is shutting the sites down before the person(s) responsible can do much damage, Stewart notes. But he voiced concern that variants of the virus (which don't rely on Geocities) may follow.

In recent times there have been several examples of spammers using cracking exploits to gain control of victim PCs and send virtually untraceable spam. Insecure WLAN are prone to much the same risks.

Perhaps the most insidious aspect of this is that innocent organisations (e.g. a Vermont prep school - see New York Times story) take the blame for sending spam.

Stewart's paper illustrates the basis for such attacks, and provides another sound reason why people should exercise diligence in guarding against viral risks.

Of course there will always be those who don't bother, but the fewer such people or organisations there are the less of a problem this will pose for the rest of us. ®

Related stories

Why did support @ Microsoft send me a virus this morning?
Fizzer worm more interesting than harmful
Today's latest mass mailing worm

External Links

Write ups of the Sobig-B (AKA Palyh or Mankx) by F-Secure and Symantec. Why oh why can't AV vendors agree viral names?

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.