Feeds

Pirate Bay clampdown prompted file sharing site spike

A true 'cloud computing' effort, reports McAfee

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Attempts to shut down notorious torrent tracker site The Pirate Bay have spurred a four-fold increase in the number of file sharing websites during the third quarter of 2009.

At least some of these sites are primarily designed to distribute scareware and other types of malware rather than pirated content.

Net security firm McAfee reports that a 300 per cent increase in file sharing sites that offer music and films has been accompanied by a sharp increase in associated malware-themed scams. Some of the newly created sites are littered with ruses designed to trick users into downloading various strains of malware.

Filesharing fans began creating their own sites in support of The Pirate Bay community when the site came under legal attack in Sweden during August, leaving it temporarily unavailable, McAfee explains.

In the days prior to the shutdown anonymizers indexed and relayed the data to users who might be blocked. Open-source code was available to anyone who wanted to help with redistribution of the bit torrents. This was a true "cloud computing" effort, as the masses stepped up to make this database of torrents (legal, infringed, and malicious) available to others.

When the site returned, these new torrent sites dropped off the net, taking the number of file sharing sites to pre-Pirate Bay takedown levels. McAfee reckons the number of file sharing sites will again increase during the Christmas holiday, based on earlier spikes in the creation of new sites that have accompanied the release of summer blockbusters and around the time of the Oscar awards.

During the third calendar quarter of 2009, McAfee researchers recorded a significant rise in denial-of-service attacks, including some that demanded ransom pay-offs. Four Australian sports betting firms (Sportingbet Australia, Sportsbet, Sports Alive, and Betchoice) were reportedly taken offline during major sporting events such as Australian Football League and National Rugby League finals.

Cybercrooks are offering to demo DDoS attacks to prospective buyers of site takedowns for hire services, which are growing increasingly sophisticated, McAfee adds. The latest edition of McAfee's quarterly threats report also found that spam hit 92 per cent of all email, a record high. Both the spam and DDoS attack traffic largely comes from botnet networks of compromised PCs. McAfee said it recorded the creation of 13 million new zombies in Q3 2009.

McAfee's latest security threat report, which explains these various developments in the cybercrime landscape in greater depth, can be found here (PDF). ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

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
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.