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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

11/13/2008
02:57 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Hosting King Of Spam And Botnets Shut Down, For Now

McColo's fall results in a brief holiday from spam and botnet activity, but don't get used to it, researchers say

The Web hosting company used by some of the world's biggest botnets and spammers went dark this week after several of its Internet service providers cut its connections.

As a result, the demise of San Jose, Calif.-based McColo, which has played host to botnet servers and other nefarious activity, has led to a sudden drop in worldwide spam by nearly two-thirds, according to one security firm. It has also left tens of thousands of bot machines severed from their command and control servers and unable to "phone home."

It reportedly all started with The Washington Post's contacting McColo's ISPs on Monday with information on its nefarious connections to spam and botnets gathered from various security researchers, which have long been studying McColo's connection to these activities.

The Post reported that one of the main ISPs for McColo, Hurricane Electric in Fremont, Calif., dropped McColo within an hour of investigating its activities. "We looked into it a bit, saw the size and scope of the problem you were reporting, and said, 'Holy cow!' Within the hour we had terminated all of our connections to them," Benny Ng, director of marketing for Hurricane Electric, told The Post's Brian Krebs.

McColo's connection to spamming mainly comes from its hosting several of the biggest botnets: Rustock, Srizbi, Pushdo, and Mega-D. But just because McColo is down doesn't mean the botnets are, researchers say. "McColo servers have been 'caught' hosting Rustock, Srizbi, and Pushdo botnet C&Cs. The botnets still exist despite some of the C&Cs being shut down [as a result of] the McColo shutdown," says Phillip Lin, director of marketing for FireEye.

FireEye researchers have spotted nearly 93,000 Srizbi bots trying to connect to McColo-hosted botnet command and control servers. They expect McColo to either find other ISPs to get back up and running, or for Rustock, Srizbi, and the other botnet operators to move the lost C&Cs overseas.

Symantec also says the spam respite is just short-term, and botnets will basically move more toward peer-to-peer communications. Plus, spam volumes typically jump around the holidays.

Meanwhile, aside from hosting bot, spam, and malware activity, McColo reportedly also hosted illegal content, such as child pornography. A new report from HostExploit says McColo hosted Websites, name servers, and payment services used for child pornography.

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 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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Major Brazilian Bank Tests Homomorphic Encryption on Financial Data
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/10/2020
Exploits Released for As-Yet Unpatched Critical Citrix Flaw
Jai Vijayan, Contributing Writer,  1/13/2020
Microsoft Patches Windows Vuln Discovered by the NSA
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/14/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
The Year in Security: 2019
This Tech Digest provides a wrap up and overview of the year's top cybersecurity news stories. It was a year of new twists on old threats, with fears of another WannaCry-type worm and of a possible botnet army of Wi-Fi routers. But 2019 also underscored the risk of firmware and trusted security tools harboring dangerous holes that cybercriminals and nation-state hackers could readily abuse. Read more.
Flash Poll
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
[Just Released] How Enterprises are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
Organizations have invested in a sweeping array of security technologies to address challenges associated with the growing number of cybersecurity attacks. However, the complexity involved in managing these technologies is emerging as a major problem. Read this report to find out what your peers biggest security challenges are and the technologies they are using to address them.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-14629
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-17
Improper permissions in Intel(R) DAAL before version 2020 Gold may allow an authenticated user to potentially enable information disclosure via local access.
CVE-2019-17125
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-17
A Reflected Client Side Template Injection (CSTI) with Angular was discovered in the SolarWinds Orion Platform 2019.2 HF1 in many forms. An attacker can inject an Angular expression and escape the Angular sandbox to achieve stored XSS.
CVE-2019-17127
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-17
A Stored Client Side Template Injection (CSTI) with Angular was discovered in the SolarWinds Orion Platform 2019.2 HF1 in many application forms. An attacker can inject an Angular expression and escape the Angular sandbox to achieve stored XSS. This can lead to privilege escalation.
CVE-2020-3940
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-17
VMware Workspace ONE SDK and dependent mobile application updates address sensitive information disclosure vulnerability.
CVE-2020-6862
PUBLISHED: 2020-01-17
V6.0.10P2T2 and V6.0.10P2T5 of F6x2W product are impacted by Information leak vulnerability. Unauthorized users could log in directly to obtain page information without entering a verification code.