Feeds

Once-prolific Pushdo botnet crippled

Torrent of spam choked

Seven Steps to Software Security

Security researchers have disrupted the botnet known as Pushdo, a coup that over the past 48 hours has almost completely choked the torrent of junkmail from the once-prolific spam network.

Researchers from the security inteligence firm LastLine said that they identified a total of 30 servers used as Pushdo command and control channels and managed to get the plug pulled on 20 of them. As a result, the torrent of junkmail spewing from it dropped to almost zero on Thursday, according to figures from M86 Security Labs.

Also known as Cutwail, Pushdo has long maintained a strong presence in the rogues gallery of the security world. It is known for spam that attempts to trick recipients into installing malware and it also excels at hiding itself from intrusion-prevention systems, security researches have said. Its output has varied over the years with estimates as high as 20 percent of the world's spam at some points.

Pushdo was also notable for other technical feats, including its ability to pierce Microsoft Live by defeating its audio captchas.

Last year, federal authorities shut down a host provider known as 3FN, which was believed to be a major provider for Pushdo, but spam levels didn't drop. Researchers surmised then that spam zombies continued to churn out junkmail based on old instructions until new command and control channels were being set up. It's unclear why spam levels dropped this time and not then.

The disruption is good news, but it also highlights the uphill challenge white hats face in severing menaces from the net. Some of the host providers contacted by LastLine ignored the request to disconnect the malicious servers, despite receiving a fair amount of data documenting their bad deeds. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.