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

Botnets Resurge After Holiday Break

After going dark for about a week, the Waledac and Rustock botnets suddenly resurfaced and began unleashing large quantities of pharmaceutical spam.

Top 10 Security Stories Of 2010
(click image for larger view)
Slideshow: Top 10 Security Stories Of 2010
File under "suspicious": Two seemingly unrelated botnets went dark for about a week, then suddenly reappeared, pushing updated malware to infected PCs and unleashing a massive spam campaign. Substantial numbers of the spam messages are emanating from the .ru domain, which is Russia's top-level domain.

One of the botnets in question is Waledac, aka Storm, which recently distributed an update to all infected computers, generated large quantities of spam with a New Year's theme, then went dark in early January. About a week later, however, the botnet resurfaced, unleashing a new "magic blue pill" spam campaign, as it's done in the past.

The new Waledac malware also received a 2011 makeover. "After the downtime, the botnet came back up and an update followed. The binary executable of the bot was updated, the code itself showed small changes, and the network messages exchanged by the botnet peers showed a new message containing a spam job involving pharmaceutical spam, rather than misleading applications," according to a blog post from Symantec's Andrea Lelli.

"The spammed links will redirect the user on a domain controlled by the botnet, which in turn is a redirector to a domain owned by the 'Trusted Tabs' branding, a notorious pharmaceutical spam operation group," she said.

Interestingly, at about the same time that Waledac reappeared, Rustock -- the world's most prolific botnet in 2010, in a year that saw new malware volume reach an all-time high -- also resurfaced, and likewise began issuing large quantities of pharmaceutical spam.

The timing of the two botnets resurfacing is "a suspicious coincidence indeed," said Lelli, though she cautioned that Symantec was still investigating whether the two botnets were, in fact, controlled by the same group. On the upside, the two botnets' spam volumes are currently lower than in 2010.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 5/22/2020
The Problem with Artificial Intelligence in Security
Dr. Leila Powell, Lead Security Data Scientist, Panaseer,  5/26/2020
How an Industry Consortium Can Reinvent Security Solution Testing
Henry Harrison, Co-founder & Chief Technology Officer, Garrison,  5/21/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
How Cybersecurity Incident Response Programs Work (and Why Some Don't)
This Tech Digest takes a look at the vital role cybersecurity incident response (IR) plays in managing cyber-risk within organizations. Download the Tech Digest today to find out how well-planned IR programs can detect intrusions, contain breaches, and help an organization restore normal operations.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-27
A race condition was found in the mkhomedir tool shipped with the oddjob package in versions before 0.34.5 and 0.34.6 wherein, during the home creation, mkhomedir copies the /etc/skel directory into the newly created home and changes its ownership to the home's user without properly checking the hom...
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-27
JerryScript 2.2.0 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (assertion failure) because a property key query for a Proxy object returns unintended data.
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-27
JerryScript 2.2.0 allows attackers to cause a denial of service (stack consumption) via a proxy operation.
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-26
The boost ASIO wrapper in net/asio.cpp in Pichi before 1.3.0 lacks TLS hostname verification.
PUBLISHED: 2020-05-26
An issue was discovered in ssl.c in Axel before 2.17.8. The TLS implementation lacks hostname verification.