Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


02:55 AM
Connect Directly

CNN, Olympics Spam Put Botnet in First Place

Rustock botnet edges Srizbi as number one spamming botnet, according to Marshal's TRACE team

A spam run that featured phony CNN headlines and Olympics “news” over the past few weeks has helped propel the Rustock botnet to become the world’s largest spamming botnet, according to researchers.

Rustock beat out the Srizbi botnet, which as of May was pumping out over 55 percent of all spam, according to Marshal’s TRACE team. Last week, 31.1 percent of all spam was sent by the Rustock botnet, versus 30.7 percent from Srizbi. And thanks mostly to Rustock’s rise, malicious spam rose from three percent to 32.3 percent of all spam, according to Marshal.

“As time has gone on, the criminals behind Rustock have adjusted the appearance and sophistication of their messages to become more convincing at fooling recipients into infecting themselves,” said Phil Hay, lead threat analyst for Marshal’s TRACE team. “As Rustock has infected more machines, it has enabled the botnet to send more and more spam. These two factors have combined to push Rustock into first place and the volumes of malicious spam in circulation through the roof.”

The fake news spam from Rustock began in late June, and was fairly rudimentary and easily spotted as spam, but later evolved into more sophisticated messages with headline links that led to fake codec updates laden with a Trojan. This week, Rustock sent a spam run that convincingly copied CNN’s format, with messages of a “CCN.com Daily Top 10” list of headlines, including topics on the Olympics.

But Rustock’s method of infection was basically the same: a phony video that prompts the victim to update the codec. The executable file is the bot malware that recruits another machine for its botnet army.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading

  • Marshal Inc. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. 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

    Recommended Reading:

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
    Dark Reading Staff 8/10/2020
    Researcher Finds New Office Macro Attacks for MacOS
    Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  8/7/2020
    Lock-Pickers Face an Uncertain Future Online
    Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  8/10/2020
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Cartoon Contest
    Current Issue
    Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
    This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
    Flash Poll
    The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
    The Changing Face of Threat Intelligence
    This special report takes a look at how enterprises are using threat intelligence, as well as emerging best practices for integrating threat intel into security operations and incident response. Download it today!
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-12
    A local, arbitrary code execution vulnerability exists in the SplitCompat.install endpoint in Android's Play Core Library versions prior to 1.7.2. A malicious attacker could create an apk which targets a specific application, and if a victim were to install this apk, the attacker could perform a dir...
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
    A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability was discovered in the System Management Interface Web component of Avaya Aura Communication Manager and Avaya Aura Messaging. This vulnerability could allow an unauthenticated remote attacker to perform Web administration actions with the privileged ...
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
    An issue was discovered in certain configurations of GNOME gnome-shell through 3.36.4. When logging out of an account, the password box from the login dialog reappears with the password still visible. If the user had decided to have the password shown in cleartext at login time, it is then visible f...
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
    django-celery-results through 1.2.1 stores task results in the database. Among the data it stores are the variables passed into the tasks. The variables may contain sensitive cleartext information that does not belong unencrypted in the database.
    PUBLISHED: 2020-08-11
    There is a possible out of bounds read due to an incorrect bounds check.Product: AndroidVersions: Android SoCAndroid ID: A-152225183