Perimeter
1/16/2009
08:48 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

If It Walks Like A Botnet

There's something fishy going on with the Confickr/Downadup worm. So far, it hasn't crossed the line to an official botnet, but this thing is fast becoming a monster that just won't stop spreading, no matter what Microsoft does to warn users to patch (the patch has been available since October, people) or how security vendors scramble to scan for it as it evolves and changes.

There's something fishy going on with the Confickr/Downadup worm. So far, it hasn't crossed the line to an official botnet, but this thing is fast becoming a monster that just won't stop spreading, no matter what Microsoft does to warn users to patch (the patch has been available since October, people) or how security vendors scramble to scan for it as it evolves and changes.The latest head count of infected machines worldwide: a whopping 8,976,038 as of this morning, according to F-Secure. But botnet hunters don't all agree on the actual size of this potential botnet, with other research firms saying less than 1 million machines have been infested.

Why the discrepancy? First of all, not all researchers study botnets from the same perspective. Some focus more on command and control, others at the malware itself, and others on the potential zombies (plus each has its own tools). Sure, the numbers associated with this infection are mind-boggling and scary, but even with the disparity between 500,000 and 8 million, all botnet hunters are watching it very, very closely.

Botnet counts and classification disagreements are nothing new in the research community. Remember last year's Bobax/Kraken debate? One group of researchers called it a new botnet, while another said it was an existing one. Now we just call it Bobax/Kraken to split the difference.

What the botnet researchers do agree on with Confickr/Downadup is that it has the makings of a botnet. The infected machines are communicating with an average of 250 different domains each day, attempting to download more malcode. But those domains mostly have been unregistered, with no set group to indicate that a botnet command and control infrastructure is in place.

Just what the bad guys have planned for this astronomical number of machines, assuming the 8.9 million number is the most accurate, is worrisome. So far, it has been all about pushing rogue antivirus software, but just think of the damage a botnet of this size could do. It wasn't long ago that researchers had written off former super-sized botnets like Storm as too high-profile and unwieldy to survive. Now Storm is back, although far smaller than its former size, and a possible new botnet is brewing.

-- Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading Kelly Jackson Higgins is Executive Editor at DarkReading.com. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading December Tech Digest
Experts weigh in on the pros and cons of end-user security training.
Flash Poll
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Title Partner’s Role in Perimeter Security
Considering how prevalent third-party attacks are, we need to ask hard questions about how partners and suppliers are safeguarding systems and data.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-7830
Published: 2014-11-24
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in mod/feedback/mapcourse.php in the Feedback module in Moodle through 2.4.11, 2.5.x before 2.5.9, 2.6.x before 2.6.6, and 2.7.x before 2.7.3 allows remote authenticated users to inject arbitrary web script or HTML by leveraging the mod/feedback:mapcourse cap...

CVE-2014-7831
Published: 2014-11-24
lib/classes/grades_external.php in Moodle 2.7.x before 2.7.3 does not consider the moodle/grade:viewhidden capability before displaying hidden grades, which allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive information by leveraging the student role to access the get_grades web service.

CVE-2014-7832
Published: 2014-11-24
mod/lti/launch.php in the LTI module in Moodle through 2.4.11, 2.5.x before 2.5.9, 2.6.x before 2.6.6, and 2.7.x before 2.7.3 performs access control at the course level rather than at the activity level, which allows remote authenticated users to bypass the mod/lti:view capability requirement by vi...

CVE-2014-7833
Published: 2014-11-24
mod/data/edit.php in Moodle through 2.4.11, 2.5.x before 2.5.9, 2.6.x before 2.6.6, and 2.7.x before 2.7.3 sets a certain group ID to zero upon a database-entry change, which allows remote authenticated users to obtain sensitive information by accessing the database after an edit by a teacher.

CVE-2014-7834
Published: 2014-11-24
mod/forum/externallib.php in Moodle 2.6.x before 2.6.6 and 2.7.x before 2.7.3 does not verify group permissions, which allows remote authenticated users to access a forum via the forum_get_discussions web service.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Now that the holiday season is about to begin both online and in stores, will this be yet another season of nonstop gifting to cybercriminals?