Feeds

Trojan creates bogus webmail accounts to punt drugs

Hotmail and Yahoo! captchas defeated?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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." ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
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?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.