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
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0485
Published: 2014-09-02
S3QL 1.18.1 and earlier uses the pickle Python module unsafely, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a crafted serialized object in (1) common.py or (2) local.py in backends/.

CVE-2014-3861
Published: 2014-09-02
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in CDA.xsl in HL7 C-CDA 1.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted reference element within a nonXMLBody element.

CVE-2014-3862
Published: 2014-09-02
CDA.xsl in HL7 C-CDA 1.1 and earlier allows remote attackers to discover potentially sensitive URLs via a crafted reference element that triggers creation of an IMG element with an arbitrary URL in its SRC attribute, leading to information disclosure in a Referer log.

CVE-2014-5076
Published: 2014-09-02
The La Banque Postale application before 3.2.6 for Android does not prevent the launching of an activity by a component of another application, which allows attackers to obtain sensitive cached banking information via crafted intents, as demonstrated by the drozer framework.

CVE-2014-5136
Published: 2014-09-02
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Innovative Interfaces Sierra Library Services Platform 1.2_3 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via unspecified parameters.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
This episode of Dark Reading Radio looks at infosec security from the big enterprise POV with interviews featuring Ron Plesco, Cyber Investigations, Intelligence & Analytics at KPMG; and Chris Inglis & Chris Bell of Securonix.