Feeds

DDoS attacks fall as crackers turn to spam

Baron Samedi and chums redeploy zombie armies

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Denial of service attacks are falling out of favour with black hat hackers because using compromised machines to send spam is a more lucrative - and less risky - way of making money illicitly.

Networks of compromised PCs can be used for purposes including relaying junk mail or flooding targeted websites with spurious traffic.

Symantec reckons the noticeable fall in denial of service attacks it witnessed in the second half of 2006 is down to the growing difficulty in launching such attacks, and getting victims to pay up even if these assaults are successful. Stealthier misuse of compromised PCs - such as sending spam - poses far less risk, the security firm argues.

Symantec recorded an average of 5,213 denial of service (DoS) attacks per day in the second half of 2006, down from 6,110 in the first half of last year. The US was the target of most DoS attacks accounting for 52 per cent of the worldwide total.

"DoS attacks are loud and risky. Whenever a bot-network owner carries out a denial of service attack they run the risk of losing some of their bots. This could happen either because an attacking computer is identified and disinfected, or if it is simply blocked by its ISP from accessing the network," Symantec researcher Yazan Gable notes in a posting to Symantec's Security Response Weblog.

Gable adds that the "up-front" costs in setting up a botnet before any hope of payment, as well as the possible loss of an entire bot network if a command and control server is identified, also act as a deterrent.

"It is likely that bot network owners are now moving away from DoS extortion and towards more lucrative ventures like spam. Not surprisingly, we saw a noted increase in spam volumes in the last six months of 2006," he added. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, watchdog claims
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.