Feeds

SoBig anniversary marks birth of the botnet

Five by five

Seven Steps to Software Security

Wednesday (9 January) marks the fifth anniversary of the SoBig-A virus, an item of malware experts reckon marked the transition to money rather than mischief as the main drive behind malware creation.

While it wasn't until August 2003 that a variant of the malware (SoBig-F) caused disruption on a massive scale, the first iteration of the virus in January began what became a steadily evolution in cybercrime. SoBig "irrevocably changed" the malware landscape by heralding the introduction of the botnet phenomenon, according to email security firm MessageLabs.

The SoBig worm in its various guises commonly appeared as an attachment to electronic messages with subject lines such as "Re: Approved", "Thank you!", or "Re: That movie". The body of email messages containing text such as "See the attached file for details" designed to tempt prospective marks into infectious .pif or screensaver files. The rudimentary social engineering technique was then new but didn't really take off until a sequel of the worm released some months after the first variant of the malware hit the net.

The driving force behind all variants of SoBig was to distribute self-replicating Trojans which created botnets of compromised zombie PCs, useful for the distribution of spam or other nefarious purposes. Following the introduction of anti-spam legislation in 2003, botnets provided the anonymity that spammers required and the increasing penetration of always-on home broadband networks made them increasingly effective as a distribution tool. The increased ineffectiveness of older techniques - such as open mail relays - in a face of evolving spam filtering technologies helped further fuel the transition to a new cybercrime economy based on trade in compromised PCs and hacker tools.

Five years on, the malware landscape has become even more sophisticated. Recent months have seen the evolution of the Storm worm Trojan and other sophisticated "professionally developed" botnet clients, such as Nugache, a new malware strain that can be controlled without use of a command and control server. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
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
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
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
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.