Feeds

Spammers adopt stealth tactics

Slow burn

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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." ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.