Feeds

SoBig anniversary marks birth of the botnet

Five by five

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
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
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
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
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.