Feeds

Evil twins spread zombie plague

Sdbot and Gaobot infections behind most botnets

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

The Sdbot and Gaobot malware families are responsible for most botnets worldwide. The two strains were responsible for 80 per cent of detections related to bots during the first quarter of 2007, Spanish anti-virus firm Panda Software reports.

Other culprits, although on a lesser scale, included Oscarbot, IRCbot or RXbot. The widespread abuse of Sdbot and Gaobot to create networks of zombie compromised PCs is due to other factors beyond ease of infection or potency of their code, explains Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.

"This dominance is not so much due to any special features of Gaobot or Sdbot, but simply because their code is much more widely available on the internet. This means that any criminals that want to make a bot can simply base it on the source code of these threats, making any modifications they choose. Essentially, this saves them a lot of work," he said.

Bots are automated worms or Trojans used by hackers to gain control of computers. Networks of compromised machines under the control of hackers (botnets) are used to send spam, covertly install spyware and adware on compromised machines, or used as a resource from which to launch denial of service attacks, for example.

In 2006, bots accounted for 13 per cent of all new threats detected by PandaLabs. Of those, 74 per cent belonged to the Sdbot and Gaobot families. Bots often spread through emails that use social engineering to trick users into opening infectious attachments or (more commonly) con users into visiting hacker-controller websites that exploit system vulnerabilities to install malware, so-called drive-by-downloads.

Up until recently most bots were controlled through IRC servers, allowing hackers (bot-herders) to hide behind the anonymity of chat servers. Newer-generation bots can be controlled through web consoles using HTTP, making it easier to manage larger networks of compromised systems. "Control through IRC is useful for controlling isolated computers. However, this system is not so useful when it comes to botnets. By using HTTP, bot herders can control many more computers at the same time, and can even see when one of them is online or if the commands have been executed correctly," explains Luis Corrons.

Companies are advised to carry out periodic audits to check that there is no malware hidden on their networks. Panda Software, along with other anti-virus firms, offers a range of enterprise packages designed to keep malware threats at bay. It also runs an automated security audit service called Malware Radar.

On the home front, Panda is launching an awareness campaign featuring easy access to its new online scanning tools via Infectedornot.com. ®

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

More from The Register

next story
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
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
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
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.