Feeds

Storm Worm linked to spam surge

Russian teens fingered as likely suspects

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A recent upsurge in Storm Worm activity was accompanied by a spike in spam levels 48 hours later, according to an analysis by managed security services firm MessageLabs.

After the August 15 outburst, which involved the distribution of 600,000 Trojans in only 24 hours, junk levels increased on August 17 by more than 30 per cent. These levels sustained for the next week and then returned to normal.

The August outbreak involved virtual postcards and YouTube video invites. More recently Storm Worm-themed emails have posed as links to National Football League fixtures lists.

Although the body text and subject line keep changing, the emails always consist of simple text or HTML including a single link to an IP address. That IP address refers to another infected machine within the botnet, which subsequently redirects to a back-end server in an attempt to infect the victim with a copy of the Storm Worm Trojan code. The back-end server automatically re-encodes the malware every thirty minutes to make signature detection difficult for traditional anti-virus vendors.

Infection turns PCs into zombie spam drones under the control of hackers. MessageLabs reckons the Storm Worm botnet accounts for 1.8m compromised PCs worldwide.

The location of the command and control servers used to manipulate the botnet are safeguarded behind a rapidly-changing DNS technique known as ‘fast-flux’, making it difficult to locate and take down hosting sites and mail servers.

Based on the tactics and techniques used in outbreaks, MessageLabs reckons the Storm Worm gang is a small group of young adults, likely to be in their early 20s, and from Russia.

"It is unlikely that the Storm Worm gang is an organised criminal group as the underworld, or shadow economy, is largely constructed of a loose affiliation of disconnected but highly-specialised individuals and small groups," said Paul Wood, MessageLabs security analyst. "Their motive is to make as much money from the botnet as possible."

"StormWorm’s closest rival botnet, Warezov, is likely to be Asian in origin," he added. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Know what Ferguson city needs right now? It's not Anonymous doxing random people
U-turn on vow to identify killer cop after fingering wrong bloke
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
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.