Feeds

Spam volumes double as Rustock botnet wakes

Great, I was wondering where I could get cheap viagra

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Spam volumes have returned to normal following a holiday lull that saw a drastic reduction of junk mail.

The Rustock botnet is out of hibernation and back in business, spewing copious volumes of useless junk mail courtesy of hundreds of thousands of compromised Windows machines.

Rustock (which specialises in spamvertising unlicensed pharmaceutical websites) is the biggest single source of global spam. Its return on 10 January resulted in the doubling (98 per cent increase) of global junk mail volumes over the course of just 24 hours, MessageLabs reports.

Other botnets have also returned to business following the end of the festive season. For example, the Xarvester botnet has also returned, following a blitz on its command and control servers.

Websense reports much the same dramatic surge on global spam volumes over the same time period between Sunday and Monday, as its chart here illustrates.

MessageLabs and other security watchers remain in the dark over the cause of the Xmas spam "armistice". This isn't a seasonal variation seen in previous years, but something new and thus far unexplained.

One popular theory is that the botmaster controlling spam-spewing machines simply took a break and cracked open the vodka, but there's no real evidence for this.

Nine in 10 of all email messages circulating on the net are spam. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.