Feeds

Why spammers lurve the ‘Microsoft support’ worm

The next Sobig thing

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Website security in corporate America

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?

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.