Feeds

SoBig anniversary marks birth of the botnet

Five by five

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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. ®

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications

More from The Register

next story
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
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
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
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.
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.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.