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 worlds largest spamming botnet, according to researchers.
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 Marshals 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 CNNs format, with messages of a CCN.com Daily Top 10 list of headlines, including topics on the Olympics.
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading