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.

Endpoint

7/9/2009
03:10 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Research: A Day In the Life of A Spamming Bot

ESET researchers discover that a Waledac-infected bot spams out 150,000 messages a day

If you think your email inbox is out of control, consider this: A bot-infected machine can send out two spam email messages per second, and a total of around 150,000 in a day.

That's what researchers at ESET Latin America found after conducting an experiment in which they infected one of their machines with the prolific Waledac spamming botnet. Waledac, the reincarnated version of the infamous Storm botnet, is an HTTP-based botnet that's known for large holiday and news event-driven spam runs.

ESET infected one of its lab computers with one of Waledac's Trojans, using a binary that was part of a phony discount coupon campaign around Valentine's Day this year, and then monitored the machine's network traffic. They measured the email traffic in four stages during a one-hour period at different times of the day, and calculated an average of 6,548 email messages sent per hour by the bot.

Waledac, which is estimated to have around 20,000 bots in its army, could then theoretically spam 3 billion messages per day, blogged Sebastin Bortnik, security analyst for ESET Latin America. "...this is only the theoretical capacity because not all infected computers are being used 24 hours a day for sending spam," he blogged. "However, this demonstrates the power of botnets as a distributed networking resource in general, and the particular potential of the Waledac botnet for spam email distribution."

"Looking at the statistics presented here, many users will now understand why their computers work so slowly when their systems are infected...and why is there so much spam," Bortnik wrote.

Researchers confirmed in January that Waledac was a new and improved Storm -- using HTTP communications to help camouflage its activity among other Web traffic -- and with strong encryption, rather than the weak 64-bit RSA encryption it had used when researchers were able to crack it.

Waledac kept with its holiday theme last week with a spam run for the 4th of July that contained a link purported to be a video of a fireworks show.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. 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
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
10 Ways to Keep a Rogue RasPi From Wrecking Your Network
Curtis Franklin Jr., Senior Editor at Dark Reading,  7/10/2019
The Security of Cloud Applications
Hillel Solow, CTO and Co-founder, Protego,  7/11/2019
Where Businesses Waste Endpoint Security Budgets
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: "Jim, stop pretending you're drowning in tickets."
Current Issue
Building and Managing an IT Security Operations Program
As cyber threats grow, many organizations are building security operations centers (SOCs) to improve their defenses. In this Tech Digest you will learn tips on how to get the most out of a SOC in your organization - and what to do if you can't afford to build one.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-1575
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
Information disclosure in PAN-OS 7.1.23 and earlier, PAN-OS 8.0.18 and earlier, PAN-OS 8.1.8-h4 and earlier, and PAN-OS 9.0.2 and earlier may allow for an authenticated user with read-only privileges to extract the API key of the device and/or the username/password from the XML API (in PAN-OS) and p...
CVE-2019-1576
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
Command injection in PAN-0S 9.0.2 and earlier may allow an authenticated attacker to gain access to a remote shell in PAN-OS, and potentially run with the escalated user?s permissions.
CVE-2018-19629
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
A Denial of Service vulnerability in the ImageNow Server service in Hyland Perceptive Content Server before 7.1.5 allows an attacker to crash the service via a TCP connection.
CVE-2019-10100
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
Quake3e < 5ed740d is affected by: Buffer Overflow. The impact is: Possible code execution and denial of service. The component is: Argument string creation.
CVE-2019-10100
PUBLISHED: 2019-07-16
UPX 3.95 is affected by: Integer Overflow. The impact is: attacker can cause a denial of service. The component is: src/p_lx_elf.cpp PackLinuxElf32::PackLinuxElf32help1() Line 262. The attack vector is: the victim must open a specially crafted ELF file.