Feeds

DDoS attacks fall as crackers turn to spam

Baron Samedi and chums redeploy zombie armies

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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
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
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.