Feeds

Warezov botnet rises from the grave

Undead spam

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

After laying low for the better part of a year, the Warezov botnet is back - with some new tricks up its sleeve.

In the past week, trojan horse programs that install the Warezov bot have been spotted on websites offering free MP3 downloads, according to Joe Stewart, director of malware research at security provider SecureWorks. The attacks are a big change for Warezov, which burst on the scene in 2006 with malware attacks spread in email attachments. The new methodology is an acknowledgment of the futility of email attacks given the difficulty of sneaking malicious payloads past today's email filters.

Stewart says Warezov is more of a payload delivery system than an actual bot. It is in essence a backdoor that installs any software its operator wants. In recent times, the payload of choice is a fast-flux hosting platform that turns compromised PCs into servers that host spoof sites used in phishing campaigns. Fast-flux networks are much harder to shut down because there's no central channel to defeat. If a single node hosting, say, a fraudulent Bank of America website is taken down, there are still thousands of other infected machines ready to take its place.

In the case of Warezov, the malware installs two separate components: a reverse HTTP proxy that serves content from an obscured master server and a DNS server that has been modified from ISC BIND. The DNS server acts as a slave that gets zone updates from the master.

The sudden burst of activity from Warezov comes after more than nine months inactivity that began about the time that prolific spammer Alan Ralsky was indicted in a 41-page federal indictment. It's unclear if Ralsky had ties to Warezov or not.

Then last week, Warezov suddenly came out of hibernation. Oddly enough, Stewart says, it was using Microsoft's Hotmail service. Each bot was given a list of usernames and passwords, and each username sent only a few emails in order to bypass restrictions on the number of emails that a single account holder can send in a set period of time. Warezov isn't the only piece of malware using webmail to send spam. Malware known alternately as Wopla or Hotlan does the same thing.

Over the past few months, anti-spam forces have scored several decisive victories in their attempt to shut down prolific senders of unsolicited junk mail. In addition to Ralsky's indictment, Robert Alan Soloway was sentenced to 47 months in prison, and researchers have declared the once-potent Storm botnet all but dead. Finally, on Tuesday, US law enforcement said they shut down one of the biggest spam gangs ever.

Warezov's second coming suggests that there will always be networks ready to step in and fill the void. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.