Feeds

Bagle shoots ahead of Rustock in spam-pumping triumph

Gets off more bot deliveries than rival

Security for virtualized datacentres

The Bagle botnet has replaced Rustock as the single biggest source of email spam since the start of January.

The miscreants behind Rustock took a break from sending out pharmaceutical spam over the festive season before returning earlier this month. Since its return on 10 January, Rustock made up for lost time and sent 17.5 per cent of all spam blocked by MessageLabs this month. Bagle, however, has kept its nose out front with the distribution of one in five spam messages polluting the interwebs.

Rustock alone was responsible for 47.5 percent of all spam, approximately 44.1 billion junk mail messages every day, at its peak. But now the global nuisance has been beaten by Bagle, something of a comeback kid in the spam distribution scene.

"Bagle has been around before, but was not very active in 2010," Paul Wood, MessageLabs Intelligence Senior Analyst at Symantec explained. "It was in the top three in 2009 and sends only pharma spam."

Spam accounted for 78.6 percent of all email traffic in the first three weeks of 2011, the lowest rate since March 2009. By comparison, 83.9 per cent of all email traffic was spam in January 2010.

A temporary respite from the spam-sending activities of three botnets – Rustock, Lethic and Xarvester – along with upheavals among pharmaceutical spam-sending gangs saw junk mail volumes halved over two weeks between 25 December and early January.

Spam volumes dropped from 80.2 billion spam emails per day to 33.5 billion spam emails each day during this period, when Rustock switched to click fraud scams. The spam deluge respite was short-lived and is sadly unlikely to be repeated, Wood explains.

"The closure of spam affiliate, Spamit, was partially responsible for the disruption to spam output. However, there are likely other factors at work, such as consolidation and restructuring of pharmaceutical spam operations which has led to instability in the market likely to be exploited as a business opportunity by other spam gangs.

"We expect to see more pharmaceutical spam in 2011 as new pharmaceutical spam brands emerge and botnets compete for their business."

More details on the latest in the spam-sending scene can be found in the January 2011 MessageLabs Intelligence Report here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.