Feeds

Spammers adopt stealth tactics

Slow burn

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Botnet controllers are switching to stealth tactics in a bid to avoid detection. Instead of mass mail-outs of spam and malicious code, they are adopting slower distribution tactics in a bid to avoid appearing on corporate security radars.

UK-based web security firm BlackSpider Technologies reports that one huge botnet, responsible for issuing 50m identical spam emails per day, compromises at least 150,000 distinct IP addresses. The use of a large number of machines - each sending out an average of 330 emails a day or around 40 per hour during the course of a working day - is a change from days of yore when a handful of compromised email servers would have been used to do the same job.

It's well known that packages such as Send-safe.com are used by spammers to control the distribution of junk mail broadband-connected PCs infected by viruses such as SoBig, but BlackSpider's figures on the mail-out rate from compromised machines add a fresh perspective to the problem.

BlackSpider Technologies CTO James Kay said this low mail-out rate means users of compromised machines will not notice anything untoward with their net connection. Because they don't notice anything amiss, the spambot remains undetected. "It’s about time law enforcement agencies took the botnet issue far more seriously. Ninety-eight per cent of spam and malicious code comes from machines with bad or unknown reputations, and we should be slapping online ASBOs (anti-social behaviour orders) on them to stop this criminal cycle," Kay said.

Kay added that spam purveyors are adopting the same stealth tactics as VXers. "It’s not dissimilar to the low-volume virus distribution tactic that we first saw last year, when hackers realised that releasing viruses in smaller numbers kept them out of sight of anti-virus vendors for far longer, causing more damage." ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.