Feeds

Trojan creates bogus webmail accounts to punt drugs

Hotmail and Yahoo! captchas defeated?

Security for virtualized datacentres

Miscreants have created a strain of malware capable of setting up bogus Hotmail and Yahoo! accounts in order to send spam.

The HotLan-A Trojan uses automatically-generated webmail accounts, suggesting that spammers have found a way to bypass the Captcha system (which typically means accounts can't be created until a user correctly identifies letters depicted in an image).

The Captcha system was set up by online service providers in order to try to ensure that only requests generated by a human, and not automated by a program, are serviced.

These challenge-response systems are often used to stop the automatic creation of webmail accounts by spammers, so their apparent defeat by the HotLan-A Trojan is of particular note.

The use of compromised PCs to send spam has been going on for years, but the HotLan-A Trojan follows a more complex routine. Each active copy of the Trojan attempts to set up a webmail account before pulling encrypted spam emails from a website. It then decrypts these junk emails and sends them to (presumably valid) addresses taken from yet another website, according to an analysis of the malware by Romanian anti-virus firm BitDefender. Junk mail sent using the malware has largely been used to spamvertise sites flogging pharmacy products.

"There are only about 500 or so new accounts being created every hour," said Viorel Canja, head of BitDefender's Anti-virus Lab. "But still, we've seen 15,000+ Hotmail accounts being used so far. It's hard to estimate how many spam emails have already been sent." ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
'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
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
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!
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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.