Small but lethal Lethic is biggest junk mail villain
MS cleaned botnet infections from over 6.5 million computers in one month
Botnet networks of compromised PCs are responsible for 87 per cent of all spam, according to figures released by Microsoft at the RSA Conference on Wednesday.
Adrienne Hall, general manager of Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing program, told delegates: "Botnets are the prime suspect in cybercrime, the core of the threat."
Hall unveiled a report that revealed that the Lethic zombie army was responsible for 56.7 per cent of botnet-sourced junk mail between March and June of 2010. Lethic agents are running on only 8.3 per cent of known botnet IP addresses, so each compromised machine is made to work extremely hard in churning out junk. "A takedown of the Lethic command and control servers in January 2010 disrupted the ability of spammers to distribute junk mail. However the Cybercrooks behind Lethic regained and re-established control of the botnet," the report said.
Microsoft reports that the Rustock and Cutwail botnets were the next two most prolific junk mail sources in Q2 2010, churning out 16.9 per cent and 15.4 per cent of botnet-manufactured spam respectively.
Redmond's statistics come from enterprise users of its Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) spam filtering services.
The latest edition of Microsoft's security intelligence report provides a detailed breakdown of the various nefarious activities of the world's most noxious botnets. As well as providing a platform for spam distribution, many networks of compromised machines are used for phishing attacks, identity theft, click fraud and denial of service attacks.
Hall said that between April and June 2010, Microsoft cleaned botnet infections from more than 6.5 million computers worldwide. On Tuesday, Redmond added detection for the infamous Zeus crimeware Trojan to its malicious software removal tool, an application that cleans infection from compromised PCs and comes as an adjunct to Microsoft monthly Patch Tuesday security updates. ®
I think there needs to be, either at the ISP level or higher simple tools that people can use to see if their machine is sending out SPAM. I can't be that difficult for an ISP to profile its users by the amount of traffic on port 25 (or maybe secure SMTP, which I can't remember the number for), and then maybe look a little more closely at the people who are sending unreasonably large amounts of traffic.
Presumably at the higher level, people do notice the IP addresses where much of this traffic is coming from, and there could be a web site like, amIazombie.com or something, which looks at your IP address (in the same way bandwidth checkers do), compares it with a list of known bots/zombies/whatever you want to call them and says yes or no.
Or am I wandering around with my eyes closed and these already exist?
Tux, 'cause there's less chance of a Linux machine being got :-)
Nice start MS!
Nice going MS. Shame that idiot users still download and run pretty much anything that dances across the screen though. Almost as bad as the gov run computer training centre for those not familiar with the interwibble I had the misfortune of being introduced to today. They actively recommended no security software at all since "it's not needed" and slowed machines down. Groups like this, and idiot users need controlling, to make the world safer for everyone else.
Sadly as Einstein said, the limits of human stupidity are without limits. Much the shame :(
Be fair. If Linux had Microsoft's users, they'd be surfing as root.
Obviously Linux software is much less keen on automatically executing data, so these users would have learned the noble art of "following instructions" on web sites, such as "copy and paste these commands into a shell prompt: 'sudo ...' ". But they'd do whatever it takes to let the bad guys take over their machines, because the bad guys are actually quite smart these days. An owned machine carries on working just fine, and the former owner is rewarded with some lame porn, so everyone's happy. If you switch to Linux, the porn sites stop working. Where's the incentive in that?