Spammers Conceive New Attack Methods

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

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Security experts are warning that the substantial decline in spam over the last month may be just a lull before the storm.

The largest single source for spam, the Rustock botnet, reported "went dark" on Christmas day, along with a few other substantial spam operations.

Rustock controls more than one million PC's in its botnet spamming network, and analysts are concerned that the operators may be shifting tactics to account for better anti-spam software that filters the unwanted messages from email.

"If the past is any indication, these guys will regroup," says senior analyst at AppRiver Fred Touchette.

According to USA Today, spamming outfits could be re-purposing their botnets to perform other less than desirable tasks, including:

  • Corrupting searches: Botnets can drive up the profile of sites that might show up in response to popular search queries...
  • Accelerating click fraud: Botnets also can click on online ads that link to advertisers' Web pages. An ad network that distributes ads pays the crooks each time a PC clicks on an ad...
  • Changing ad routing: A botnet operator can make sure that infected PCs only display ads from networks affiliated with the criminals...

The simple truth is that crime does in fact pay, and as long as these groups have powerful botnets at their disposal, they will continue to seek the most profitable ways to utilize them.

Source:  http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2011-01-11-1Aspam11_ST_N.htm

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