Feeds

Storm Worm linked to spam surge

Russian teens fingered as likely suspects

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

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. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.