Feeds

Spam net snared a quarter million bots, says conqueror

Putting the mega in Mega-D

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Herders behind the Mega-D botnet may have corralled nearly a quarter million infected machines into their spam-churning enterprise before it was recently crippled by white hat hackers.

The botnet, which was once responsible for an estimated third of the world's spam output, was knocked out of commission last week by employees of security firm FireEye. After unplugging the Mega-D master control channels, the researchers set up a benign "sinkhole" channel for the bots to report to and waited to see what would happen.

Over five days, 487,340 unique IP addresses reported to the ad-hoc server. Using findings derived from last year's take-down of the separate Srizbi botnet, FireEye estimates that the figure translates to 248,590 unique machines. Unlike Mega-D, Srizbi included an accounting mechanism that identified each infected machine. They then analyzed the number of IP addresses and noted that after five days, it was about double the number of individual Srizbi victims.

"Any botnet size estimate should be taken with a grain of salt as they are notoriously hard to calculate and there is a lot of conflicting data out there," FireEye's Todd Rosenberry cautions.

Based on the IP addresses, the researchers also estimated that Brazil is most infected country, accounting for 11.5 percent of the victims, followed closely by India and Viet Nam. In all, 214 countries were represented.

FireEye said that it is continuing to monitor Mega-D but plans to turn over maintenance of the sinkhole to Shadowserver. The volunteer crew has an established infrastructure and relationships with ISPs and various Computer Emergency Response Teams, or CERTS, around the world. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
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
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.