Feeds

Spam volumes increase to pre-McColo takedown levels

Mega-D botnet spewing out junk mail torrent

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Junk mail levels are back to 80-90 per cent of their volumes prior to the takedown of infamous junk mail-friendly ISP McColo in November 2008 last year.

Spam levels are up 4.9 percentage points since December 2008 to 74.6 percent, reaching levels close to those prior to the McColo takedown, according to an analysis by email and web filtering firm MessageLabs published on Monday.

It reports that the Mega-D (Ozdoc) botnet is making the largest single contribution to junk mail levels, sending more than 26m spam emails per minute. Meanwhile, the Cutwail (Pandex) remains the largest active botnet with more than 1m active IPs this month. MessageLabs is yet to see any junk mail from machines compromised by the Conficker worm.

In other spam-related news, security researchers at Trend Micro were surprised to discover that items of dating spam in a recent junk mail run were spoofed so that they appeared to come from the security heavyweight.

But spammers got things badly wrong in the the design of the spam run, which comes in the run-up to Valentine's Day. By tampering with the From field in the messages, junk mailer hoped to sneak their useless messages past spam filters.

However the hackers in this case erred badly, because the From and Reply-To addresser in junk mail messages are spoofed. As a result, "the spammers themselves aren’t getting the replies or even the bounces to the spammed messages they sent," writes Mary Ermitano, an anti-spam research engineer at Trend Micro. "This attack is apparently just a waste of resources for spammers."

The spam run seeks to promote websites while also seeking to validate email addresses for later, possibly more insidious, junk mail runs. The junk mail messages in this case are not in themselves pointed at malware and don't point to malware infected sites - at least not yet.

A full write up of the attack, more of which can be expected to surface on the run-up to Valentine's Day on 14 February, can be found here. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Arts and crafts store Michaels says 3 million credit cards exposed in breach
Meanwhile, Target investigators prepare for long process in nabbing hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.